Divided We Fail: AARP, Business Roundtable,
SEIU Team Up to Advance Affordable Health Care, Long-term Financial Security
Diverse groups call on presidential candidates to address critical domestic issues
June 25, 2007
AARP, Business Roundtable and Service Employees Union (SEIU) today launched Divided We Fail New Hampshire as part of their national issues campaign focused around the 2008 presidential election. Between the three groups, over 50 million Americans are represented, including 228,000 AARP New Hampshire members.
AARP CEO Bill Novelli, Business Roundtable President John Castellani, SEIU President Andy Stern and New Hampshire businessman Paul Montrone joined together at the New Hampshire State House to launch the campaign.
The bipartisan Divided We Fail alliance is working together in New Hampshire over the next seven months leading up to the primary, to urge action from elected leaders on the issues of quality, affordable health care and long-term financial security, and build grassroots support.
AARP CEO Bill Novelli said, "In order to move the issues that matter most to Americans forward, we will use our collective networks and outreach efforts to get Americans of all ages, backgrounds and political affiliations involved with the Divided We Fail campaign."
"As CEOs of America's top companies, our members know that high health care costs are suffocating New Hampshire's consumers, economy and businesses," said John J. Castellani, Business Roundtable President. "We're pleased to stand with AARP and SEIU to issue this call to action for America's presidential candidates. The time for fresh, innovative solutions is now."
During the primary season, the New Hampshire Divided We Fail campaign will expand the network of organizations involved; hold a series of more than 30 local town hall meetings and candidate events on the issues across the state; listen to members and volunteers to make sure their voices are heard; run extensive newspaper, TV, and radio advertising; and conduct online activities. Taken together, these efforts will engage the public, businesses, and elected officials in the debate and encourage public leaders to offer solutions.
"This is a great day for everyone in New Hampshire," said Paul Montrone, former CEO of New Hampshire-based Fisher Scientific International, Inc. "We are combining the efforts of the largest labor union in the country, the largest membership organization in the world and the leading group of U.S. CEOs to provide the leadership necessary to make sure health care and financial security are at the top of the political agenda this presidential cycle."
Stern summed up the effort by saying, "Americans want answers, and cooperation is how we will get them. Together with AARP and BRT, we will mobilize our members to advocate at every level for sensible policies that put our country back on the right track. When organizations of our size and diverse agendas come together behind such a powerful cause, political leaders will take notice - and respond."
Kelly Clark, AARP New Hampshire State Director, said "New Hampshire voters of both parties share strong opinions on these issues and agree on the need to move forward. Divided We Fail is ultimately about bringing these issues center stage so that primary voters have the information they need to make informed choices."
AARP's New Hampshire State Office, led by State Director Kelly Clark, and a team of New Hampshire Divided We Fail dedicated staff will coordinate the Granite State's campaign with national and other primary state efforts. This team includes four Granite Staters from both sides of the political aisle: Kris Schultz, who has worked on Democratic campaigns in New Hampshire and across the country; Steve Griffin, a key operative for former Republican New Hampshire Congressman Jeb Bradley's first campaign; Joe Elcock, a long-time political strategist; and Bill Redding, who has worked on campaigns in Presidential, statewide and local campaigns in New Hampshire and across the country.
More information about the Divided We Fail efforts can be found at www.dividedwefail.org and on the New Hampshire AARP webpage at www.aarp.org/nh.
AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan membership organization that helps people 50+ have independence, choice and control in ways that are beneficial and affordable to them and society as a whole. AARP does not endorse candidates for public office or make contributions to either political campaigns or candidates. We produce AARP The Magazine, published bimonthly; AARP Bulletin, our monthly newspaper; AARP Segunda Juventud, our bimonthly magazine in Spanish and English; NRTA Live & Learn, our quarterly newsletter for 50 + educators; and our website, www.aarp.org. AARP Foundation is an affiliated charity that provides security, protection, and empowerment to older persons in need with support from thousands of volunteers, donors, and sponsors. We have staffed offices in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Business Roundtable (www.businessroundtable.org) is an association of chief executive officers of leading U.S. companies with $4.5 trillion in annual revenues and more than 10 million employees. Member companies comprise nearly a third of the total value of the U.S. stock markets and represent over 40 percent of all corporate income taxes paid. Collectively, they returned $112 billion in dividends to shareholders and the economy in 2005. Roundtable companies give more than $7 billion a year in combined charitable contributions, representing nearly 60 percent of total corporate giving. They are technology innovation leaders, with $90 billion in annual research and development spending - nearly half of the total private R&D spending in the U.S.
With 1.8 million members, SEIU (www.seiu.org) is the fastest-growing union in North America. Focused on uniting workers in three sectors to improve their lives and the services they provide, SEIU is the largest health care union, including hospitals, nursing homes, and home care; the largest property services union, including building cleaning and security; and the second largest public employee union.