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Chief of staff Michael Brady claims that Rep. Tom Reynolds failed to show up at a Social Security forum in his district because it was "a political rally." As one who has been working with others for months to get our elected officials to publicly discuss this issue, I would like to set the record straight.

A number of retired citizens had been asking to meet with Reynolds for three months. They wanted to discuss the president's reform proposals. They never got the courtesy of a reply from his office.

Frustrated, they joined a number of other groups to plan a forum on Social Security in Amherst. All three area congressional representatives were asked to attend. Reps. Brian Higgins and Louise Slaughter replied. But there was no response from Reynolds.

Brady's assertion that this was a political rally is bogus. Flyers were sent out to churches, senior citizen centers, retirees and disabled groups. We had no idea of the attendees' party affiliation nor what they might say. People who wanted to speak signed a card and were called to the microphone in an orderly fashion by an impartial moderator. Higgins and Slaughter's aide expressed their views and the audience respectfully listened.

We learned that one-third of Social Security recipients are either disabled, children or widows and that often their monthly check is critical to their economic survival. It's a shame that Reynolds wasn't present to hear their testimony.

Roger A. Cook

Member, WNY In This Together

Grand Island