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In Honor of My Grandmother … and Future Generations

170 million Americans pay into Social Security with every paycheck

Jeannette Gorham,  John Hishta’s grandmother

Hishta Family

Social Security benefits gave my grandmother Jeannette Gorham dignity and a sense of pride.

Exactly one year ago, AARP launched a campaign to put the spotlight on Social Security in the 2016 presidential election.

This mission had special meaning for me because of Social Security’s role in my own family. When I was growing up in Syracuse, N.Y., my grandmother moved in with us. She was a widow, and she didn’t have much. But she never wanted to be a burden.

Social Security made it possible for her to chip in with household expenses. And that meant the world to her.

Those benefits — earned by my grandfather during his many years working as a coal miner — gave her dignity and a sense of pride.

I never forgot it.

My grandmother’s story reminds me how important it is to update this great program, so it can keep its promise for future generations. But that can happen only with leadership from the top.

Our work is not finished.

And Nov. 8 is almost here. This is a critical moment: The next president and Congress could make decisions that affect the 170 million Americans who pay into Social Security with every paycheck.

That makes your vote even more vital. To see where Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump stand on Social Security, you can check out Please tell your friends they can do the same.

And if you need to find the nearest polling place, just text “VOTE” to 22777.

After you vote — or even before — you can share on Facebook our digital sticker proclaiming, “I am a Social Security voter.”

Now, as the election draws near, I want to take a moment to thank all the fantastic Take a Stand volunteers who helped us call attention to Social Security in this rough election campaign.

Video: Before You Vote, Take A Stand - Before you vote, make sure you know where your candidate stands on Social Security.

You trekked to hundreds of events, wrote thousands of letters and called over half a million AARP members. You stood outdoors holding signs on freezing winter days. You buttonholed candidates at forums, posted messages on Facebook and Twitter and wrote letters to your local editor.

You even convinced the debate moderators to make Social Security a topic in the final presidential debate.

You have been an inspiration.

You succeeded against the odds.

Thanks to you, the presidential candidates laid out plans for Social Security, and over 300 congressional candidates made a commitment to act on this crucial issue.

These are real achievements in a political year defined far more by personal attacks than by a focus on the policies that affect our lives.

Thank you again for taking a stand on Social Security!