Medicare, Social Security, and benefits for veterans — a bit of line dancing, too — were on the agenda Thursday for U.S. Rep. John Barrow when he visited residents at the Bulloch County Senior Center.
Barrow, the representative for Georgia’s 12th Congressional District, met with local constituents as part of a five-county, two-day Senior Center Tour that kicked off Thursday.
The informal meet-and-greet featured Barrow answering questions and providing insight to legislation for a group of women gathered for their weekly knitting session.
He also joined the center’s Southern Liners line-dance squad, taking part in a quick number before talking politics.
The four-term congressman, and the Deep South’s last remaining white Democrat in the House, said has embarked on the tour to discuss issues senior citizens are currently facing.
“I’m taking this opportunity to meet with seniors all across the district and to reassure them that I’m committed to protecting the programs that are important to them,” Barrow said. “These folks have earned the right to Social Security benefits that won't run out and Medicare benefits that won't be taken away.”
Following the line dance, Barrow said to seniors: “We have worked for and we deserve a Social Security system that is not going to run out. And your Medicare will be taken care of. That will be my promise.”
Other conversations Thursday centered around benefits for veterans and the federal estate tax.
“I think what we should do is hike that tax so high that it only reaches the folks it was intended to reach and index it for inflation so it doesn’t continue to creep down on folks,” Barrow said, referring to the tax imposed on the transfer of the taxable estate of a deceased person. “I have voted to repeal it, I have voted to raise the limit and voted to hold it. I have voted for anything to keep the taxable number from coming down because the estate tax is reaching a lot more people than it was ever intended to reach.”
While on the topic of taxes — specifically, whether to extend the Bush-era tax cuts — Barrow said, “My belief is that the present time is no time to raise taxes on anybody.”
When asked about his support for veterans, the congressman discussed his efforts to “beef-up” the GI Bill, support the Wounded Warrior project and reminded the group about a new VA Health Clinic scheduled, tentatively, to open in Statesboro later this year.
Other stops on Barrow’s Senior Center Tour include: Millen, Sylvania, Grovetown and Augusta.
Jeff Harrison may be reached at (912) 489-9454.