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Bush Wants Retirees To Volunteer

May 19, 2000

PADUCAH, Ky. (AP) _ George W. Bush proposed incentives today to encourage older Americans to volunteer, saying the nation should make better use of ``the healthiest, most energetic, best-educated generation of seniors in history.″

The Republican presidential candidate, speaking to about 150 people at the McCracken County Senior Center, proposed a ``silver scholarship″ program in which senior citizens would serve as tutors in after-school programs in exchange for $1,000 educational scholarships.

The money could be used by the seniors’ children, their grandchildren or other young people in need.

Bush also said that if elected he would seek an increase in funding for the Senior Service Corps from $183 million to $250 million a year.

``Today’s older Americans are the healthiest, most energetic, best-educated generation of seniors in history,″ Bush said. ``They have more free time and they want to use it. They have the wisdom of years, and they want to share it.″

Outside the center, about a dozen people protested Bush’s plans for Social Security changes including allowing people to invest part of their payroll taxes in the stock market. They waved signs saying, ``Social Security First″ and ``Save It, Don’t Scrap It.″

Inside, Bush spoke in front of a banner that said ``Saving Social Security, Helping Senior Citizens.″ He promised that retirees’ government benefits would remain ``safe and secure″ if he goes to the White House.

After the speech, as Bush worked his way from table to table, 77-year-old Howard Koen kissed him on the cheek.

Bush was asked how many men had kissed him so far in the campaign. His response: ``None as cute as that.″

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