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Publish Date: 5/4/2005

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U.S. Sen. Wayne Allard speaks to Front Range residents about Social Security reform during a town meeting Tuesday in Longmont’s City Council chambers. Sen. Allard took an hour to listen and respond to concerns regarding Social Security and funding for public lands.Times-Call/Erin McCracken

Allard visits city
Social Security reform, public lands focus of senator’s meeting


LONGMONT — Kent Borger is moving to Idaho because he says he can no longer afford to live in Longmont. Part of the problem, he says, is that the Social Security money he collects doesn’t stretch very far.

“You’ve got to be rich or poor to live on the Front Range,” he said, adding that he doesn’t believe enough is being done to help Colorado’s middle-class residents.

At a town meeting Tuesday morning in the Longmont City Council chambers, Borger told Republican U.S. Sen. Wayne Allard that he thinks a solution to his problem could be found if everyone, including state and federal employees, had to pay into Social Security.

That idea, Allard responded, is “on the table.”

The notion is one of several being discussed about Social Security reform, Allard said.

Currently, the nation’s Social Security funds are facing a deficit, he said, and the nation relies on borrowing from Social Security coffers to operate.

What he’d support most is for every American to have the option to create a personal account to hold a portion of their Social Security contributions.

“I don’t think personal accounts by itself will solve the problem ... but it will be less of an impact (on the nation’s general fund),” he said, noting that some other options could take away legislators’ ability to borrow from the Social Security money.

Also during Tuesday’s town meeting, attended by 75 people from as far away as Lone Tree and Fort Collins, Allard said he will continue to work to make sure the state and federal forest services get the money they need to protect and care for the nation’s parks and protected lands.

Westminster resident Aaron Clark told Allard he is worried those public lands aren’t being protected and preserved as they should because forest services aren’t getting enough funding.

“What are you doing to protect those public lands and limit recreational use so people in the future can enjoy those public lands and recreate like we do today?” Clark asked. He told Allard that he’d heard of cuts up to 50 percent to Forest Service funds.

“I will continue to fight for a reasonable budget so they can do their job,” Allard said, adding that he believes Forest Service leaders consider it a cut when they don’t receive all of the money they request each year.

Longmont Mayor Julia Pirnack told the crowd she was pleased that Allard made a visit to Longmont, saying she appreciates his focus on wise spending in the government.

Allard, in turn, thanked the group for attending the town meeting, one of more than 700 he’s held since 1991.

“This gives me a chance to hear from you,” he said.

Amanda Arthur can be reached at 303-684-5215, or by e-mail at aarthur@times-call.com.

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