Category Archives: Press Release

Picket on Monday, December 9th

Dear Democracy Advocates,

Art Pope, owner of the Roses and Maxway stores and Gov. McCrory’s Budget Director, is the poster child of what one extremely wealthy individual can do to twist an entire state’s public policy in a racially divisive, ultra-conservative direction. Read more here.

Worse, Pope literally depends on the black community to finance his political operation; African-American shoppers at his stores supply a large share of his income, which he then uses to promote policies that keep them too poor to shop elsewhere. In reality, he’s a poverty creator more than a job creator. See our new handout here.

Many of his workers are also trapped – they’re paid less than a living wage, with few benefits, and they wind up relying on public assistance to support their families. In reality, Pope’s business is heavily subsidized by government funds, yet he uses his profits to promote an elitist, anti-government agenda – against voting rights, against public education, against campaign reform.

That’s why Democracy North Carolina is joining the NAACP and other members of the Forward Together Movement to coordinate educational pickets near Pope-owned stores (Roses, Maxway, etc.) across the state during the Holiday Season.

Organize or Attend a Picket Near You

Check out the list of planned pickets below and RSVP to let us know which picket you hope to attend. We can then follow up with more details.

If you don’t see an event near you on the list below, then organize one yourself! Let us know if you are interested and we will send you a local organizer’s kit and help with local media outreach and publicity.

REMEMBER: We are not calling for a boycott of Pope-owned stores at this time. These are informational pickets only!

Upcoming Educational Pickets (partial list)

Monday 12/9: Durham (4pm)
Wednesday 12/11: Charlotte (11am)
Friday 12/13: Goldsboro
Saturday 12/14: Winston-Salem (11am), Fayetteville (1pm), and Belmont (12 noon)


Grandparent’s Day Op-Ed

On Grandparents Day, Let’s All Promise Not to Be the Last Generation to Retire

By Heather McLaughlin & Helen Davis

As grandmother and granddaughter we hope that this year’s Grandparents Day – September 8th – can inspire different generations to have a conversation about retirement security. We must address a coming shortage of long term care providers and work together to preserve Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.

Long term care (LTC) includes a wide array of medical and non-medical care to people who have a chronic illness or disability over an extended period of time. A growing number of Baby Boomers will soon be seeking long term care services, and almost every American family will have to decide what services they need and can afford. Medicaid is the country’s largest public payer for LTC accounting for 40% of all services delivered. If you are not Medicaid-eligible, you are responsible for covering most of the cost of LTC.

Additionally, Medicare covers a part of LTC costs.  It covers some home health, skilled nursing, and hospice care.  However, Medicare is meant for short-term treatment, and is not intended to be a LTC program.  Medicare will cover a limited stay in a nursing home if an individual has been in the hospital for at least three of the last 30 days. That is why it is so disheartening to hear of politicians who want to cut Medicare and Medicaid. When faced with this situation, many individuals turn to their families for help or tap into the retirement savings.

Social Security, another program vital for older Americans, is one of America’s greatest success stories.  For 78 years, it has helped retirees stay healthy and out of poverty. But Social Security is important to more than just seniors.  Social Security helps workers who suffer career-ending injuries and illness, as well as children who have lost a parent.

Social Security has not added a penny to our deficit.  It is fully paid for by worker and employer payroll taxes. The talk of greater life expectancy (and the assumption that you should spend those extra years at work!) is misleading.  A lower infant mortality rate has raised overall life expectancy, but it has remained nearly the same once people enter adulthood.  In fact, any gains that have been made have been almost exclusively for the highest income and education levels, not for the physically-demanding blue collar and service sector workers who would suffer terribly if the retirement age were increased to 70, as some in politics have suggested.

The average retiree on Social Security receives $1200 per month.  If people think the government spends too much, they should not criticize these modest Social Security benefits retirees paid for throughout their working years, but rather tax breaks for big corporations.

Sen. Tom Harkin’s bill, called the Strengthening Social Security Act of 2013, S. 567, would require the establishment of a price index that accurately reflects costs for Social Security beneficiaries, among other improvements. Called the Consumer Price Index for the Elderly (CPI-E), this alternative would be used when computing increases in cost of living adjustments and would consider typical seniors’ costs, including medical care and housing costs, to ensure that seniors’ Social Security benefits keep pace with inflation.

Politicians and pundits try to pit one generation against the other to advance their own agendas.  This is insulting because it assumes people only care about themselves and others their own age.  People are better than that, and in 2013, life is more complicated than that.  Generations are more intertwined than ever before.

While it often seems like we live in complicated, fractious times, we still believe that more unites us than divides us.  Regardless of when and where we were born, or what we do each day, we all want to live a healthy, secure life and enjoy dignity and peace of mind.  While September 8 may be officially known as Grandparents Day, we hope it is a day that brings generations together to improve the lives of people of all ages. Let’s not be the last generation to retire.

Heather McLaughlin is a Consultant with NC Alliance for Retired Americans & Helen Davis is her 90 year old Grandmother.

Happy 75th Anniversary to Social Security

For Planning Purposes
August 3, 2010
Contact: Laura Wickwar (919)621-3613 or

Happy 75th Anniversary to Social Security

Smithfield — On Wed., August 4, 2010, at 10:00am, Johnston County seniors and members of the Alliance for Retired Americans will gather at the Johnston Health Medical Mall, 514 N. Bright Leaf Blvd. in Smithfield to celebrate with a Social Security Senior Round Table and Anniversary Party. Honored speakers include Congressman Bob Etheridge, 2nd US District, NC Representative Leo Daughtry, NC District 26, and Mr. Michael Dawkins, District Manager of the Social Security Office in Smithfield. Following the Roundtable, we will celebrate with cake and refreshments.

Similar events will be taking place all across the country throughout this week and next highlighting the truth about Social Security – that it belongs to the people who worked hard all their lives and contributed to it, and that it is a promise that must not be broken. Some in Washington, including a new federal commission on deficit reduction, have recently suggested either cutting Social Security benefits or raising the retirement age as a way to “fix” the deficit.

Social Security benefits 1,631,300 people, more than 1 out of 6 residents, in North Carolina and pumps $20.5 billion per year, an amount equivalent to 5 percent of the state’s annual GDP, into the North Carolina economy.

NC Alliance President John Newman said, “We will gather tomorrow to celebrate the good works of Social Security and to wish it many more happy years. More than ever, North Carolina workers and retirees need to know Social Security will be there for them.”

WHO:     Alliance for Retired Americans members and activists with U.S. Rep. Bob Etheridge, NC Rep. Leo Daughtry, Mr. Michael Dawkins, District Manager of the Social Security Office in Smithfield

WHAT:     Social Security Senior Round Table and Anniversary Party

WHERE:     Johnston Health Medical Mall, 514 N. Bright Leaf Blvd. in Smithfield, NC

WHEN:     Wed., August 4, 2010, at 10:00am


Retirees Celebrate Crist Victory

For Immediate Release

Retirees Celebrate Critz Victory

Win Will Help Protect Social Security Benefits for Seniors
The following statement was issued by Edward F. Coyle, Executive Director of the Alliance for Retired Americans, in response to yesterday’s victory by Mark Critz in Pennsylvania:

“The Alliance for Retired Americans congratulates Mark Critz on a hard-fought victory last night in Pennsylvania’s 12th Congressional District.

New TV Ad: Critz on Side of PA Seniors

For Immediate Release
May 12, 2010

New TV Ad: Critz on Side of PA Seniors

A new television ad, which began airing today in Western Pennsylvania, lauds 12th congressional district candidate Mark Critz for his strong support for Social Security and lowering prescription drug costs for senior citizens.

To the view the ad, go to

The ad states that Mark Critz has signed a pledge to oppose privatizing Social Security, a major issue in this race.  Critz’ opponent, Republican Tim Burns, has been the recipient of several endorsements from political leaders who support a privatized Social Security run by Wall Street investment firms.

The 30-second spot, an independent expenditure by the Alliance for Retired Americans Political Action Fund, will run on a heavy ad buy during programming with large senior audiences across the 12th congressional district.

Below is a transcript of the ad:

Why are seniors across Western Pennsylvania voting Mark Critz for Congress?

Because Mark Critz alone signed the pledge not to privatize Social Security, so your retirement won’t be gambled away by Wall Street. Critz will make sure Medicare is sound and always there. And Mark Critz will fight for real relief for seniors through lower prescription drug costs.

On May 18th, stand with the Alliance for Retired Americans and Western Pennsylvania seniors. Vote Mark Critz for Congress.

The Alliance for Retired Americans Political Action Fund is responsible for the content of this advertisement.

# # #
The Alliance for Retired Americans is a national organization that advocates for the rights and well being of over 4 million retirees and their families.


Contact:   David Blank (202) 637-5275 or

“Seniors have elected a real friend to Congress.  As the President’s National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform comes up with its recommendations, the Alliance looks forward to working with Mr. Critz on protecting Social Security.