U.S. Senate Ref…

by Tracy Ellingson

U.S. Senate Reform Party candidate Dean Barkley believes the biggest challenge facing the next group of freshman senators will be dealing with a retiring baby boom population.
“Every honest report shows that we have a huge economic dilemma facing this country: retiring the 77 million baby boomers,” said Barkley, adding that younger generations will likely end up paying big money to the government. “This potentially could be an economic catastrophe for this country.”
This election season marks Barkley’s third run for public office. In 1992, he ran as an independent in the former Sixth District against former U.S. Representatives Gerry Sikorski and Rod Grams. Barkley ran against Grams and Ann Wynia in 1994 for a seat in the U.S. Senate.
Now facing Republican Rudy Boschwitz and Democratic incumbent Paul Wellstone, Barkley joins the refrain of his fellow Reform candidates. The Reform platform has emphasized a need for the country to take care of its debt. A deficit reduction or elimination, Barkley and Reform Party members hope, will help alleviate economic strains on post-baby boom generations.
“My number-one concern,” Barkley said, “is getting this $5.2 trillion debt paid off so (young people) don’t have to do it and reforming entitlement so they don’t break your back when the baby boomers start retiring in 2012.”
Although the immediate concerns of financially strained college students rank below the budget on his agenda, Barkley said education will be a top priority for him in the Senate.
“I would not cut back any current funding levels that we have in education right now because we’ve done enough of that,” Barkley said. “But I will not promise that I can give a lot more money to (students) faced with a $5.2 trillion debt that has to be taken care of, or else it’s going to bankrupt your future.”