Big Sky 55 launches new organization and announces focus of platform 


Big Sky 55 launches new organization and announces focus of platform 

Great Falls, Mont. – Today community leaders, retired legislators, educators, and activists gathered in Great Falls to announce a new organization for Montanans 55 and older, Big Sky 55+, an organization to advocate for progressive policies such as health care and economic security for all.

“Montana needs a strong voice to engage Montanans 55 and older to advocate for progressive policies,” said Ken Toole, Vice Chair of Montana 55+ and a former Montana State Senator and Public Service Commissioner. “Protecting Medicare and Social Security are primary concerns for older Montanans. Simple truth, if Medicare and Social Security are cut, millions of us will have re-think when, how, and if we can retire.”

The group plans to organize and mobilize Montanans 55 and older on a multi-issue program advocating for a broad range of critical issues of concern to Montana seniors. Big Sky 55+ sets out to win on progressive policies and elect progressive candidates, Toole said.

Toole outlined a range of progressive policies the group supports, including

  • Economic security for all,
  • Health care for all,
  • Protecting and defending our Democracy,
  • Providing quality education for all,
  • Right to a clean and healthful environment,
  • Native American communities and their issues,
  • Rural communities, and
  • A fair and balanced tax system.

“We will include the rural voice in our organizing and work on policy that works for all Montanans, not just the urban areas,” said Founding Board members, Terry Minow, retired educator and longtime political director. “We hope to increase voices speaking out from rural areas and increase the political power from those areas.”

Minow said Big Sky 55+ supports the 6 Mill property tax levy to help keep tuition low for state college and university students.

Pat Sweeney, senior advisor and former Director of WORC and longtime environmental justice leader, noted Montana’s aging population. “Montana is the third oldest state as a percentage of population,” Sweeney said. “Thirty percent of Montanans are 55 and older. For many Montanans, life is becoming more insecure. Many of us wonder if we will outlive our financial resources. We need to preserve and protect Social Security and Medicare.”

Sweeney said the organization intends to work to safeguard Montana’s environment. “Big Sky 55+ believes in protecting the environment and in our responsibility to leave our kids and grandkids and all future generations a ‘clean and healthful environment.’ It is our Constitutional right and our responsibility to see we pass it on to future generations,” Sweeney said.


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