November 12, 2013

We Honored Waco Veterans — But Where Was Their Congressman?

Pictured are Emmett Sheppard (army) and Tom Berry (navy) at the Waco Veterans Day Parade

On Veterans Day 2013, retiree activists from Dallas and Austin converged on Waco to honor those who served, and also to ask why Congressman Bill Flores is advocating cuts in veterans’ livelihoods. We expected Congressman Flores to be in the parade or at least in the crowd. The parade was 1 1/2 hours long, and it seemed that most of the city was there to watch. But he was a no-show.

The Congressman may have been a little embarrassed to face veterans and other seniors because he signed a letter asking for cuts in retirement programs as a way of solving government budget problems. We couldn’t find the Congressman, but we distributed almost 500 leaflets and had long talks with Waco TV Channel 10 and a nice reporter from the Waco Herald-Tribune. See the video TV news by clicking here. Read the newspaper article by clicking on this headline: 

Protesters rally against Flores’ proposed changes to Social Security

Reporter Stefanie Butts called us when we were on our way home. She said that Flores sounded like he was denying having signed the letter, so organizer Judy Bryant told her to look at the on line version. “Bill Flores, TX-17” is the 4th signature on the left. The newspaper printed quotes from Flores, the usual gobbledygook about how Social Security and other programs need to be slashed “in order to save them.” Fortunately, the article also contained Judy Bryant’s simple solution to any future shortfall in the Social Security Trust Fund — just “scrap the cap” and let top earners pay their fair share, rather than letting them off the hook after they generate their first $113,000 or so.

The November 12 Waco paper also published my letter to the editor “COLA cuts will hurt vets.” A similar letter had been published in the Dallas newspaper the previous Saturday. It read, “We ought to be celebrating veterans on November 11, not scheming ways to hurt them. During the brouhaha over the federal budget, unthinking politicians are proposing to cut benefits for veterans and Social Security beneficiaries by changing the formula used to calculate cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs).

‘Veterans would be hurt most of all, given that other benefits veterans receive – in addition to their Social Security benefits – would also be cut. 

‘If Congress decides on COLA cuts, Texans’ benefits would be cut increasingly over time. The average earner in Texas retiring at age 65 would get a $493 annual cut at age 75, a $859 cut at age 85, and a $1,215 cut at age 95. Please ask congresspersons to help us veterans, not hurt us!

Gene Lantz, President, Texas Alliance for Retired Americans”

Why Take Action?

Retiree activists with the Texas Alliance for Retired Americans do these public actions and generate this information because we are standing up for what’s right for Texas seniors. But we also do it because it’s fun! Why not join us?

In solidarity

Gene Lantz


PLEASE contribute any amount to Texas Alliance for Retired Americans by clicking here.

We’re also still gathering petitions for health care implementation in Texas. Sign our petition at:

Contact Gene Lantz at

Judy Bryant at 214-729-0063

facebook: Texas Alliance for Retired Americans

Twitter: @Tx4TARA




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