The American Association of Retired Persons (AARP)
Founded in 1958 by Dr. Ethel Percy, the American Association of Retired
Persons (AARP) has been dedicated to addressing the needs and interests of older
Americans. Percy felt that older Americans could attain a sense of
satisfaction and fulfillment by remaining physically and intellectually active
in society, thus came about his idea to form the AARP. The AARP is a nonprofit,
nonpartisan, membership organization open to anyone, working or retired, over
the age of 50. Based in Wash-ington, D.C., the AARP pursues its goals through
service, advocacy, and education. The AARP's ultimate goal is to help older
Americans achieve lives of independence, dignity, and purpose. The AARP is
spread nation wide through local chapters and is run mainly by volunteer board
members at the local and national levels.
The 33 million members of the AARP can expect many benefits as well as
support from the AARP. The wide range of services span anywhere from movie
tickets to grants for re-search. The AARP also has many publications in the
form of audio and publications. The most famous of these publications is the
bimonthly Modern Maturity which targets all readers inter-ested in AARP issues.
The issues and goals the AARP advocates span a great deal throughout the
political, economic, and social arena. While diverse in its areas of interest,
the AARP mainly concentrates on social issues. Being a nonpartisan organization,
the AARP does not nationally endorse or contribute any money to the campaigns
of any candidate running for national positions including presidency. Politics
in the AARP is basically left to the individual to decide whom he/she will
support. The only participation the AARP takes is through the AARP/VOTE program.
The goals of the AARP/VOTE program are to educate AARP members and the general
public about important economic, health and consumer issues, and about the
positions taken by candidates for public office on these issues. They also
inform candidates and elected officials of AARP's positions on key policy issues
and help elected officials be more responsive to the needs of their districts
or states by promoting effective communication with their constituents.
AARP/VOTE is successful because of its effective methods used to bring the
candidate and constituent closer together. They use techniques such as
candidate forums where the candidates visit local chapters, questionnaires that
candidates fill out, and voter registration drives. Besides the AARP/Vote
program, the AARP gets through political pressure from the grass roots level by
a well structured system of events. This system of events can be summarized in
four basic steps. The first being Obtaining Member Input. This step involves
the local level members providing input about legislative issues of concern in
any area. The input is provided in form of...