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President Bush Brings Social Security Message to Rochester

By Eileen Buckley

Rochester, NY – President Bush brings his Social Security tour to Rochester Tuesday. Bush is due to arrive on Air Force One at the Greater Rochester International Airport.

President Bush is looking to a younger audience in his effort to promote his Social Security reform plan. He will be appearing in Greece, a suburb of Rochester, at the Athena Performing Arts Center. It is where he will hold a conversation on Social Security with students and citizens explaining that the program is running out of cash.

Two members of the Western New York Congressional delegation will be appearing with Bush in Rochester -- Republicans Tom Reynolds and Randy Kuhl. Reynolds and Kuhl have not yet endorsed the Bush reform plan. But Kuhl, a freshman congressman for the 29th district, applauds the President's efforts.

"The President has done a remarkably good job of focusing the attention of the American public on this problem," Kuhl said. "I've had several meetings with the president on this issue. I know that he will suggest (to his Rochester audience) that the problem exists, and we need to address the problem."

Kuhl says the President has not laid out an actual plan. Bush has only suggested that those under the age of 55 invest in privatized Social Security accounts. But Kuhl says he believes that would be a possible option.

"What I have heard in the 63 town meetings that I have done is that people are now starting to recognize that there is this issue out there," Kuhl continued. "So, his commitment of going out across this country is really being successful in identifying a problem."

But Democrats, like US Senator Charles Schumer, say Social Security doesn't need dramatic changes, just some tweaking. Back in February, while appearing at the Amherst Town Hall, Schumer told area citizens that privatizing Social Security would jeopardize those currently receiving it, and that would mean less benefits for future generations.