An Indiana woman who is walking to the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia to protest the lack of Social Security increases passed through Hillsboro on Thursday.
Donna Klippert, 70, of Seymour, Ind., set up a folding chair Thursday morning next to her rolling luggage filled with supplies and maps in front of St. Mary’s Episcopal Church, holding a sign reading, “Walking to Philly.” She said she is fed up with Washington politicians who take better care of themselves than their constituents.
Klippert said she blames Democrats for the fact that Social Security has not increased in four of the last six years, including this year, because she is a Democrat and has regularly voted for Democratic candidates, including President Obama.
“They’ve betrayed us,” she said. “They’re supposed to be for the people. They ain’t listening no more.”
When the lack of an increase in benefits for 2016 was announced last October, a Washington Post story reported, “It is only the third time in 40 years — all of them during the Obama administration — that the Social Security Administration has not increased its payments.”
While Klippert said there have been no increases in four years, she may be including next year since most experts predict there will be no increase in 2017, either.
Klippert said she used to be a truck driver until an accident ended her career. She said she is the mother of six children, 12 grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren.
“My kids aren’t too happy about this,” she said of her long journey, but her belief in making her voice heard led to her to make the trek.
Klippert left her home on Tuesday and hopes to average about 30 miles a day, which she said would land her in Philadelphia for the start of the convention on July 25. She accepts rides along the way, she said, adding that she has arranged for a place to stay once she reaches her ultimate destination.
Klippert said she camped out Wednesday night behind an empty store in Hillsboro, where she was not bothered. She said the only “hassle” she got was in North Vernon, Ind., not far from her hometown, but “they weren’t too bad. They wanted to see some I.D.,” which she said she did not feel compelled to share since she wasn’t breaking any laws.
She carries a tarp in case of rain, and said she has experience living on the street after she was forced to do so about 30 years ago because of health problems.
Social Security increases are attached to the Consumer Price Index, and according to the Social Security office, there was no cost-of-living increase this year because “there was no increase in the Consumer Price Index (CPI-W) from the third quarter of 2014 to the third quarter of 2015.”
Klippert has a Facebook page called “Walking to Philly Convention,” which contains numerous images of support for Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders.
Reach Gary Abernathy at 937-393-3456 or on Twitter @abernathygary.