Some of you know I was recently informed that the AARP had helped sponsor the recent ALEC conference in Indianapolis. I immediately went to their Facebook page and sent them a message expressing my disappointment. Today, I received the following message:
After hearing from many of you, we’ve decided not to renew our membership to ALEC. We would never work against the interests of older Americans and our engagement with ALEC was NOT an endorsement of the organization’s policies, but an opportunity to engage with state legislators and advance our members’ priorities.
AARP is and always has been non-partisan. We meet with legislators from both sides of the aisle in order to do our job: fighting to improve the lives of people 50+. We will continue to explore ways to serve our diverse membership and fulfill our responsibility to engage with all legislators on the issues important to older Americans and their families.
Again, I went to their facebook page to reply. I found they had posted the above, and had well over 200 comments posted from members all over the country. There was not a single reply indicating a ‘like’ of ALEC or AARP’s membership therein. All comments were negative. In addition, every other post on their facebook page showed additional negative comments from members regarding this relationship.
I have pasted a number of AARP members’ comments below, to give you an idea of what was said.
What stood out to me in the comments is that the people of America are onto ALEC. They know ALEC’s proposed legislation enhances corporate coffers at the expense of the public and the common good, and they do not trust ALEC to act in the best interest of our citizens. Hopefully, ALEC’s days are numbered.
For privacy, I have not added the names of those who made these comments. If you are a facebook member you can go to the AARP page and read them yourself.
What a slap in my old face...
Why on earth were you EVER a part of this group?
...ALEC is for everything we are against.
Stop sponsoring ALEC and leave MY social security alone! I worked for it, I earned it.
stop with the alec support or i'll stop with aarp
I am HORRIFIED to learn that part of my dues are going to support the repulsive group ALEC. I will NOT renew my membership until I hear that you have decisely cut all ties with this organization that seeks to gut what little retirement benefits I have. SHAME ON YOU AARP!
Talk is cheap, show us proof you have severed all ties
I certainly hope all ties, membership or financial contributions from AARP to ALEC are completely severed. I'll be watching closely as I cannot support any organization that contributes to ALEC.
THANK YOU! I will have to trust you will keep your word because there are millions of us who would never continue with you if you became associated with them again. Again, thank you for making this decision.
The right side of the aisle has NO INTEREST whatsoever in improving the lives of people 50+. NONE! Thank you for deciding not to renew your membership with ALEC!
Thank you! They have taken my state of North Carolina backwards many decades.
Leaving ALEC is not enough, AARP must agree to really advocate for ALL seniors including poor ones! Have the people who got AARP involved with ALEC been purged from the organization? They should be, because they will just find other ways to undermine seniors. This is a good first step but AARP has more work to do!
AARP joined ALEC - a right-winged Koch funded organization that works against the interests of average people, seniors, social security, Medicare and anything good. I will NEVER join.
AARP is capable of engaging with state legislators without ALEC membership. Shame! ALEC does not represent the values of most Americans but rather supports the corporate state.
It would be even better if AARP were to RESIGN FROM ALEC IMMEDIATELY (and publish their letter to ALEC stating that they have done so)...
AARP claims to be bipartisan and does not endorse candidates. My question is why would you even consider associating yourself with such a terrible group? To "server a diverse membership"? No, sounds to me more like a personal decision to bring someone's political view into your organization and force them on its members. Who made that decision to sign on with ALEC? Very disappointed that this would even happen in the first place. You need to convince your members, and potential members, this will NEVER happen again. Are there any other political organizations that your are associated with that we should know about?
100% of the same sentiments for me. Had I known AARP was affiliated with them, I would not have joined/renewed. ALEC is definitely partisan, in fact hyper-partisan, in that they have come to be the de facto shadow Republican leadership. They've been calling the shots for years
Go a step further. Instead of not renewing, cancel your current membership and renounce their policies, which are absolutely at cross purposes with your stated objectives. There are many ways to engage with legislators and other advocates. ALEC and the Chambers of Commerce are NOT the way to do so. My membership hangs in the balance based on the transparency and trustworthiness of your decisions. There are too many conflicts of interest...
I am wary that AARP is playing with words. They might (emphasis on "might") no longer be a member but they still seem to be a trustee sponsor. Until AARP states that they have cut all ties with ALEC, I view their current statement as deliberately misleading us. ALEC absolutely represents the interests of corporations; not seniors. I think AARP policy analysts may be becoming as lazy as many of our elected representatives. They rely upon others like ALEC to do their policy "analysis" for them rather than doing the hard work themselves required to formulate positions that are truly in seniors' interests.
What a relief to see this. I had not been aware that AARP was affiliated with ALEC until recently and I had sent in my renewal for 5 years. I was very annoyed with myself for not having opted for a 1 year renewal so I could drop it next year. Knowing that your organization had a wake up call and will not renew membership is welcome news. As a grandparent, I have many concerns about the education of my grandkids. I suspect that many AARP members share my concerns and the wrecking of public education across this country as result of ALEC pushed legislation in most states in the past decade is HUGE! I don't want to be part of any organization that promotes policies that negatively affect the youngest generation. ALEC policies are not good for the future of public education.
Good. ALEC is not an organization with which I would in any way choose to associate. They've been involved in writing and lobbying for some nasty laws. Find more productive ways to "engage with legislators" and build support for the issues important to AARP's membership.
While pleased to read this, I'm disturbed and concerned about AARP making VERY POOR choices in supporting weakening Social Security. I will be watching closely and if this happens again, I'm cancelling my membership. The squeeky wheel should not be the motivator of AARP doing the right thing. VERY UNHAPPY at this point that I even had to provide input. AARP needs to be an advocate for Seniors and speak up against any politician that promotes cutting benefits!! Otherwise, you are just a travel discount site. AARP is NOT a effective advocate for Seniors in my opinion until you do this so at this point I will be watching closely and if nothing changes will CANCEL my membership and share this among family and friends that are members
Your delving into Right Wing organizations, such as ALEC, will cause your enterprise to collapse.....& in a rapid manner. I, like many other members, am appalled that the administration of AARP would support any political organization. Remain Neutral. Remember, you are representing RETIRED folks who have a great deal of time on their hands. With social media & the ability to communicate and organize in an instant, we will drop you like a hot potato and start our own organization that represents elders and their interests. Think that is an impossibility? Don't think it can be done? Don't think we have the capacity or capability to build our own organization that represents us? Try this attempt at sucking up to the GOP again. WE ARE A NEUTRAL ORGANIZATION.
Statement by Richard Fiesta, executive director of the Alliance for Retired Americans, regarding AARP’s sponsorship of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC):
“We’re deeply disappointed to learn that AARP is sponsoring ALEC, an organization that has supported state efforts that hurt seniors and working Americans.
“ALEC is a major force behind the rise of state Voter ID laws, which disproportionately hurt seniors and take away their ability to cast their votes, and have opposed efforts to rein in prescription drug prices.
“Other companies, including Ford and Google, have withdrawn their support for ALEC. If AARP truly represents the interests of seniors, then it should do the same.”
I have gotten no response to my questions on this contribution to ALEC. ALEC has hurt my profession, my state and my family. AARP can disavow and discontinue this association or I will not be able to continue membership. I have changed my home, car and life insurance for this issue, it will be less painful to discontinue membership with AARP.