An interest group is an association of individuals or organizations that attempt to influence public policy in their benefit on the grounds of one or more common interest. At some point during most Americans lifetime they will join an interest group. The American Association of Retired Persons, otherwise known as AARP, is a non-profit, nonpartisan organization that works to protect the interests and needs of retirees through lobbying efforts at the state and national governmental level. It is mostly led by local and national volunteer board members. I chose the American Association of Retired Persons, because it is one of the oldest and largest organizations of older Americans, with a membership of more than 38 million as of 2018. It is also one of the most powerful, influential, and politically active interest groups in the nation. They have the political agendas and the financial resources to release influence on the political process, use the lobbying process, start letter writing campaigns, and broaden voter turnouts on political elections.
Dr. Ethel Percy Andrus founded AARP in 1958. It is spread nationwide with offices in every state, Puerto Rico, and the U.S Virgin Islands, its headquarters is located in Washington D.C. AARP has been dedicated to addressing the needs and interests of older Americans, members can expect many benefits as well as support from the AARP. Dr. Percy believed that by remaining physically and mentally engaged in society, older Americans could achieve a sense of satisfaction and fulfillment. The ultimate goal of the group is to help older Americans achieve independence, integrity, and meaning lives by remaining a citizen involved. AARP is advocating at the local, state, and national levels for individuals over 50 and their families. They focus on important issues such as reforming social security and encouraging other efforts to save retirement and help everyone achieve their future.
Like stated before AARP is one of the most active interest groups in the country, in 2018 the organization launched the new “be the difference, vote” campaign, which was designed to maximize the influence of Americas, 50-plus voters in last year’s midterm elections. The campaign’s aims are to educate AARP members and the general public on major economic, safety, and consumer concerns, as well as on candidates ‘ public offense positions on these topics.They deliver information on issues and election news, and they also alert AARP members to tele-town halls, local events, and candidate forums.
2017 was a major year for the AARP, winning a federal regulatory court challenge that allowed employers to require employees to charter private medical and genetic data through their workplace programs. Volunteers from the Foundation Experience Corps volunteered nearly 400,000 hours to help over 31,000 students improve their literacy. Volunteers helped with tax assistance Tax returns were filed by 2.5 million individuals, producing $1.4 billion in refunds and over $220 million in tax credits. More than 7,700 volunteers were mobilized by the AARP Foundation to prepare about 4 million meals nationwide to support older adults. The fraud watch network helps more than 36 million people learn how to avoid scams. 1.8 million have been warned of an Equifax breach of security and charity security breach and scams related to hurricane harvey. The volunteers handled over 15,000 calls and questions to the networks helpline, and conducted over 1600 fraud fighting events.
They do not just enhance the quality of life for older Americans, but for the younger generations as well. The AARP is backing a new lobbying group for millennials. The organization awarded the Association of Young Americans (AYA) a $35,000 grant, which both organizations say is just the start of their relationship. AARP produces the nation’s largest circulation publications, the AARP magazine and AARP bulletin. They are one of the most successful interest groups in the United States, AARP repeatedly mobilized its members and Americans 50-plus to urge congress to oppose harmful health care legislation that would have resulted in higher premium for older people and cut benefits including medicare and medicaid, their efforts generated 300,000 calls and roughly 1.4 million letters and emails.
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