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Dist. 2 Cong. Race Turns Into Fight Over Medicare, Social Security Benefits for Seniors

Florida’s Democratic Party Chairman joined state Congressional Candidate for District 2 Al Lawson on the campaign trail talking about why voters should not re-elect incumbent Congressman Steve Southerland. They held a roundtable discussion Thursday morning in Tallahassee with some of Florida’s seniors to talk about Southerland’s record on Medicare and Social Security.

Without Social Security and Medicare benefits, it’s estimated that close to 40-percent of older Floridians could fall into poverty. That’s according to report from AARP, and the state's Democratic Party Chairman Rod Smith says it's crucial Florida Seniors pick Lawson over Southerland to fight for them.

“Ya’ll have earned your Social Security. You have earned your Medicare. You have needs as you get older for your health, and also concerns about the health of your children, and if you’re like me, your grandchildren," said Smith. "That’s what this election is about!"

And, Democratic Congressional Candidate Al Lawson says if he’s elected, he’ll make sure senior citizens in Florida get the benefits they need.

“So, you’ve got to go up there willing to work. My opponent in this race wants to privatize Social Security, wants to privatize Medicare," said Lawson. "And it’s time now for a change.”

Democrats claim Republican incumbent Steve Southerland voted twice for budgets that would end Medicare and raise costs for Florida’s seniors. But, Southerland’s campaign website tells a different story. It says Southerland voted for a House budget plan, sometimes known as the Ryan plan, which Republicans claim would not affect the Medicare benefits for those over the age of 55.

A Spokesman for Steve Southerland called the event “staged and controlled with a handful of campaign supporters,” adding that Lawson’s support for the Affordable Care Act could have a devastating impact on Florida’s seniors who depend on Medicare Advantage, a Medicare healthcare plan offered by a private provider.

For more news updates, follow Sascha Cordner on twitter @SaschaCordner.

Sascha Cordner has more than ten years of public radio experience. It includes working at NPR member station WUFT-FM in Gainesville for several years. She's worked in both radio and TV, serving in various capacities as a reporter, producer and anchor. She's also a graduate of the University of Florida with a bachelor's degree in telecommunications. She is the recipient of 15 awards from the Associated Press, Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ), and Edward R. Murrow. Her award-winning stories include her coverage on the infamous “Dozier School for Boys” and a feature titled "Male Breast Cancer: Lost in the Sea of Pink." Currently, Sascha serves as the host and producer of local and state news content for the afternoon news program "All Things Considered" at WFSU. Sascha primarily covers criminal justice and social services issues. When she's not reporting, Sascha likes catching up on her favorite TV shows, singing and reading. Follow Sascha Cordner on Twitter:@SaschaCordner.