Are you a retired union worker? Here’s proof that elections have consequences for you.

“Elections have consequences,” warns Kentucky State AFL-CIO President Bill Londrigan.

He’s right.

How many times have we heard this baloney? “It doesn’t matter who gets elected – politicians are all the same.” (I can think of a stronger word than “baloney,” but this is a family-friendly website.)

Want proof, especially if you’re a union retiree like me? Look no further than the 2020 Congressional Voting Record released today by the Alliance for Retired Americans. The ARA “works closely with the White House and Congress to ensure that seniors’ issues like retirement security and prescription drug prices get the attention they deserve,” according to the group’s website.

Richard Fiesta, executive director of the Alliance for Retired Americans
Richard Fiesta, executive director of the Alliance for Retired Americans (photo by Berry Craig)

The Voting Record “scores 10 key votes every U.S. senator and representative took last year that affected your retirement security,” explains an email we got from Richard Fiesta, ARA executive director.

Fiesta was a featured speaker at the 2019 state AFL-CIO convention in Lexington.

“I encourage you to click here, take a look and see whether your representative and senators are working for you, and encourage your family and friends to do the same,” he adds in the email.

So, fellow retirees, “are your members of Congress looking out for you?” 

You be the judge. Sens. Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul, both Republicans, backed the ARA position on just two of the 10 bills. Since he’s been in Washington, McConnell has been at odds with the ARA stance on legislation 90 percent of the time, Paul, 86 percent. 

Five of Kentucky’s six members of Congress are Republicans. Here’s how many ARA-endorsed bills they voted for in 2020:

  • James Comer, one;
  • Brett Guthrie, none;
  • Thomas Massie, none;
  • Hal Rogers, three;
  • and Andy Barr, none.

Comer has stood with the ARA just 10 percent of the time he’s been in office, Guthrie, 8%; Massie, 18%; Rogers, 10%; and Barr 65.   

Not surprisingly, Kentucky AFL-CIO-endorsed Congressman John Yarmuth, a Louisvillian and Kentucky’s sole Democrat on Capitol Hill, voted for all 10 bills. In his House tenure, Yarmuth has been on board with ARA-endorsed legislation 100 percent of the time.   

“What happens in Washington, DC, matters to the daily lives of retirees and their families,” Fiesta says. “Votes in Congress can strengthen or weaken retirement security immediately and into the future.”



Fiesta added a postscript: “P.S. We think every retiree needs this important information. Can you chip in $3 to help us spread the word and reach more people?”

I chipped in a tad more. My PS: There’s a Kentucky chapter of ARA. Check it out on Facebook. 


Cross-posted from the KY AFL-CIO web site.

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Berry Craig of Arlington, Ky., is a professor emeritus of history at West Kentucky Community College in Paducah and an author of seven books and co-author of two more, all on Kentucky history. His latest book is Kentuckians and Pearl Harbor: Stories from the Day of Infamy, published last fall by South Limestone Books, an imprint of the University Press of Kentucky.

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