NASHUA — During a campaign stop in Nashua, Congresswoman Annie Kuster again pledged to fight against privatization and cuts to Social Security and Medicare.

“I will never stop fighting against the reckless cuts proposed by extreme Tea Party candidates like my opponent. Our seniors have paid into these programs their whole lives, and we must protect the benefits they have earned and deserve,” Kuster said Friday while visiting the Nashua Senior Activity Center.

There, the New Hampshire Alliance for Retired Americans formally endorsed Kuster in her re-election bid for the 2nd congressional district U.S. House seat.

On the heels of Tuesday’s primary election, Kuster said that her opponent, State Rep. Marilinda Garcia of Salem, has a “longstanding and dangerous history” of supporting cuts to Social Security. This, according to Kuster, would leave senior citizens in a vulnerable state, and result in dramatic poverty. “We do need to come together and work hard on these programs,” said Kuster, adding they should be fixed rather than cut or privatized.

Kuster said she supports raising the payroll tax cap so that wealthy Americans will pay their fair share rather than leaving the burden on middle class families. She has introduced the Social Security Caregiver Credit Act, which would increase Social Security benefits for qualifying caregivers who spend more than 80 hours per month providing care to loved ones.

“These are simple fixes that we can do,” said Kuster, who is also co-sponsoring the Medicare Prescription Drug Price Negotiation Act to allow the federal government to negotiate for cheaper prescriptions. Lucy Edwards, president of the New Hampshire Alliance for Retired Americans, described Kuster as a champion for small business in New Hampshire.

Senior citizens who receive Social Security benefits totalling $4.1 billion in New Hampshire in 2013 spend almost all of their money locally, said Edwards.

“We need to make sure we elect representatives in Congress who support these essential senior safety net programs,” added Edwards.

State Sen. Bette Lasky, D-Nashua, echoed those comments, saying Kuster has been a tireless advocate for senior citizens during her time in Washington.

According to Kuster, about one in five New Hampshire residents are senior citizens living on Social Security and Medicare, with about 30 percent of those individuals without any other income.

khoughton@newstote.com

Annie Kuster for Congress

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