LNN Spotlight focuses on major issues important to local Hispanic/Latino and underrepresented communities — stay updated on the monthly series by following us on Spotify, Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts, Pocket Casts, and Radio Public.
On this episode of LNN Spotlight, Writer/Editor Belén Dumont speaks with AARP New Hampshire State Director Christina FitzPatrick about the upcoming elections, pressing policy work, and voting-related resources for New Hampshire residents.
While there’s still uncertainty on when the New Hampshire presidential primaries will take place, FitzPatrick explained that it all depends on Iowa’s caucuses. Many expect that the state’s primary will likely happen sometime in January, which gives residents more time to learn about certain issues and candidates, along with voting requirements, before casting their ballots.
“Our involvement in the [presidential] campaign is all about providing the information that people need to know to make an informed decision about who to vote for and to know how to vote…” FitzPatrick shared.
This election season, AARP is focused on four different issues: protecting social security, supporting family caregivers, lowering the cost of prescription drugs, and preserving Medicare. The nonprofit organization looks to elevate and have presidential candidates address these topics throughout their campaigns.
“These are topics that we’ve been working on for a very long time and we just want to keep them in the conversation,” FitzPatrick said. “Particularly, when you’re talking about social security and Medicare, those are two issues that it’s not really clear on who else would be shining a light on those if we weren’t doing it.”
When it comes to policy work that supports family caregivers, FitzPatrick highlighted that “there aren’t firm battle lines drawn, because it’s an issue that affects everybody. It’s not an ideological issue and people have personal experiences.”
FitzPatrick explained that when the issue of family caregivers is brought up to candidates and campaign representatives, they all tend to pause before reflecting on it.
“I don’t know if everybody has a story but most people have a story, either they themselves have been caring for a family member or they know somebody who is going through that,” she said.
About 20 percent of Republican primary voters are expected to be family caregivers, according to FitzPatrick. “It can be a real win for politicians who address their needs,” she emphasized.
FitzPatrick also shared that volunteers are a pillar within AARP’s voter engagement and election education efforts. Volunteers can assist in a variety of ways, which includes going out into the community or staying in the office to help these initiatives.
“We have a very big contingent of volunteers who help us to get out the word,” she said. “One of the things they do, they go to various candidate events…and they try to ask questions of the candidates about one of those four issues. And they will go to the same candidates’ events multiple times because they want to keep raising the issue so candidates…and people in the audience…to hear about it and understand that these are important.”
- AARP New Hampshire Voting Guide: https://states.aarp.org/new-hampshire/election-voting-guide
- New Hampshire Secretary of State Website on Elections: https://www.sos.nh.gov/elections
- LNN Spotlight: NH Family Caregivers: https://nhlatinonews.com/lnn-spotlight-nh-family-caregivers/
- LNN Spotlight: Social Security Benefits And Hispanics: https://nhlatinonews.com/lnn-spotlight-social-security-benefits-and-hispanics/
- Volunteering at AARP New Hampshire: https://states.aarp.org/new-hampshire/section/volunteering2
Publisher’s Note: AARP New Hampshire and New Hampshire Latino News are partners in providing greater visibility and voice to local Hispanic-Latino communities.
This story is supported by the Advancing Democracy Journalism Fellowship—run by the Solutions Journalism Network, Hearken, and Trusting News—which looks to elevate coverage of local democracy and civic engagement. NH Latino News is committed to covering the social determinants of health and democracy.