Tag Archives: age

U.S. Senate’s power brokers are aging; several seeking new terms

Millennials have emerged as the nation’s largest living generation yet that demographic shift isn’t reflected in the upper reaches of the Republican-controlled Senate, where the body’s oldest members are the power brokers.

And several are asking voters for new six-year terms.

At 82, Chuck Grassley wants Iowans to send him back to the Senate for a seventh time. The Republican chairman of the Judiciary Committee pitches his seniority as a plus, telling voters he gives them a “big voice at the policymaking tables” in Washington.

Arizona’s John McCain, the 79-year-old chairman of the Armed Services Committee, also is running for re-election. So are Richard Shelby of Alabama, the Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee chairman who turned 82 on Friday, and 71-year-old Johnny Isakson of Georgia, who leads the Veterans’ Affairs Committee and the Senate’s ethics panel.

Other committees are controlled by senior Republicans whose terms don’t end for at least a few more years. Orrin Hatch of Utah, the chairman of the Finance Committee, is 82 and has been a senator since 1977 — the same year Jimmy Carter was inaugurated as president, Elvis Presley died and the first Stars Wars movie came out.

Oklahoma’s James Inhofe is 81 and heads the Environment and Public Works Committee. Pat Roberts of Kansas, 80, runs the Agriculture Committee and 78-year-old Thad Cochran of Mississippi leads the powerful Appropriations Committee. At 75, Lamar Alexander of Tennessee is chairman of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky is 74.

Three senior Democrats have opted to retire at the end of the year: Minority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada, who is 76, along with Maryland’s Barbara Mikulski, 79, and California’s Barbara Boxer, 75.

But Vermont Democrat Patrick Leahy, 76, is running for another term. Leahy, first elected in 1974, has been in office longer than any other currently serving senator — 41 years. He’s the top Democrat on the Judiciary Committee.

The average age of all senators actually has decreased from 63 to 61 since 2009 due to younger members from political parties being elected, according to the Congressional Research Service. The youngest are members of Generation X: Sens. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., who turns 39 on May 13, and Cory Gardner, R-Colo., 41.

Millennials, who are Americans born between 1981 and 1997, numbered 75.4 million as of last July and surpassed the shrinking baby boomer population, according to Pew Research Center senior researcher Richard Fry. He projects millennials to peak in 2036 at 81.1 million.

The Senate also remains overwhelmingly white and male. Of the Senate’s 16 full-time “standing” committees, 10 are chaired by white Republican men over the age of 70. One is led by a female Republican: Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska runs the Energy and Natural Resources Committee.

Sen. Susan Collins, a Maine Republican, leads a special Senate Committee on Aging.

Overall, there are 20 women in the Senate — six are Republican.

There are three Hispanic senators, two African-American senators, and one Asian-American senator.

Age, strictly as a number, can be deceiving. Cochran isn’t the oldest senator, but questions about his mental state have persisted since he was re-elected to a seventh term in 2014.

During a bruising primary campaign in Mississippi, supporters of Cochran’s tea-party backed opponent accused Cochran of erratic behavior and struggling to recall recent events.

During Senate hearings, Cochran reads primarily from prepared text and he often cedes his prerogative as chairman to be the first to question witnesses. Cochran asked no questions of Defense Secretary Ash Carter and Gen. Joseph Dunford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, at an April 27 hearing despite deep divisions between Republicans and the Obama administration over defense spending and the strategy for defeating the Islamic State group.

Chris Gallegos, Cochran’s spokesman, said the allegations during the 2014 primary were “not based on facts.” He said the senator is in fine health and keeps a vigorous schedule. “He knows what’s going on,” Gallegos said.

McCain shows no signs of losing his edge. He’s prone to skewering witnesses who appear before the Armed Services Committee, particularly if he finds inconsistencies in their testimony. McCain also regularly fields questions from throngs of reporters as he’s coming and going from votes on the Senate floor.

Isakson announced last June he has Parkinson’s, but said the disease is in its early stages and won’t affect his ability to serve. Parkinson’s is a chronic and progressive movement disorder and it’s caused Isakson to walk with a slower, shuffling gate. Yet Isakson, in his second Senate term, is favored to win a third in heavily Republican Georgia. He won 58 percent of the vote in 2010.

In Iowa, Grassley’s age hasn’t been an issue before. He’s not lost a general election in more than 50 years, usually getting more than 60 percent of the vote. First elected to the Iowa Legislature in 1958, Grassley has served in Congress since 1974 including six years in the House and 36 years in the Senate.

Grassley isn’t the oldest senator. He’s a few months younger than Dianne Feinstein, a California Democrat, who turns 83 on June 22.

Vetting the 2016 presidential candidates? | You might be surprised at the top Google search questions

Google is compiling the most frequently asked questions posed to the search engine about presidential candidates.

During the summer, here were the top queries about each contender.

How tall is Jeb Bush?

Who is Ben Carson?

Who is Lincoln Chafee?

How tall is Chris Christie?

How old is Hillary Clinton?

How can Ted Cruz run?

How old is Carly Fiorina?

Who is Jim Gilmore?

Who is Lindsey Graham?

How old is Mike Huckabee?

Where was Bobby Jindal born?

How tall is John Kasich?

Is Martin O’Malley a Democrat or Republican?

How tall is George Pataki?

How tall is Rand Paul?

How old is Rick Perry?

How old is Marco Rubio?

How old is Bernie Sanders?

Where is Rick Santorum from?

How old is Donald Trump?

How old is Scott Walker?

Who is Jim Webb? 

114-year-old woman who challenged Facebook age policy dies

A 114-year-old woman who challenged Facebook after the social media site wouldn’t let her list her real age has died in Minnesota.

Anna Stoehr, one of the nation’s oldest residents, died Sunday in her sleep after several days in hospice care, according to her son, Harlan Stoehr.

She drew national attention this year after KARE-TV reported about her attempt to create a Facebook account. The social media site wouldn’t let her enter a birth year before 1905, so she listed her age as 99 — but she wrote a letter to the company saying, “I’m still here.”

In response, Facebook sent her a bouquet of 114 flowers for her most recent birthday, her son said.

Born in Iowa in 1900, Anna Stoehr’s family moved to Wisconsin and South Dakota before settling in Ridgeway, Minnesota, in 1919. She lived in Minnesota the rest of her life, her son said.

The Gerontology Research Group, which tracks many of the world’s longest-living people, said Anna Stoehr was the oldest verified resident of Minnesota. She also was the seventh oldest person verified to be living in the U.S. and 12th oldest in the world, according to Robert Young, a senior database administrator for the research group.

Young said living to age “114 is extremely rare.” But he said the most amazing thing about Stoehr wasn’t just her age, but the fact that she was willing to try new things, including Facebook and smartphones.

Harlan Stoehr said his mother was sharp until the end. He joked that when he saw her a week ago, “it was like she was 112 again.”

Pocan sponsors right to vote amendment

U.S. Reps. Mark Pocan of Wisconsin and Keith Ellison of Minnesota recently announced legislation to explicitly guarantee the right to vote in the Constitution.

The proposed Pocan-Ellison Right to Vote Amendment would amend the Constitution to provide all Americans the affirmative right to vote and empower Congress to protect this right, according to a news release.

“The right to vote is too important to be left unprotected,” Pocan, a Democrat, stated. “At a time when there are far too many efforts to disenfranchise Americans, a voting rights amendment would positively affirm our founding principle that our country is at its strongest when everyone participates. As the world’s leading democracy, we must demand of ourselves what we demand of others—a guaranteed right to vote for all.” 

Ellison, also a Democrat, said, “Americans’ ability to elect their leaders is a backbone of our democracy and our most fundamental righ. Even though the right to vote is the most-mentioned right in the Constitution, legislatures across the country have been trying to deny that right to millions of Americans, including in my home state of Minnesota. It’s time we made it clear once and for all: every citizen in the United States has a fundamental right to vote.” 

According to the Brennan Center for Justice, in 2013 more than 80 bills restricting the right to vote have been introduced in over 30 states.

The congressman said that without a constitutional provision, courts have upheld voter identification laws, burdensome registration requirements, and reduced early voting opportunities in various states across the country.

The proposed amendment reads: 

SECTION 1: Every citizen of the United States, who is of legal voting age, shall have the fundamental right to vote in any public election held in the jurisdiction in which the citizen resides. 

SECTION 2: Congress shall have the power to enforce and implement this article by appropriate legislation.