Social Security Commissioner to Speak at Concord University on Wednesday, September 28

For Immediate Release: 
Sep 15 2005

Social Security Commissioner to Speak at Concord University on Wednesday, September 28

Athens, W.Va.- Jo Anne Barnhart, Commissioner of Social Security, will discuss Social Security’s future and other related issues at Concord University on Wednesday, September 28 at 3 p.m. in the Ballroom, located on the third floor of the Student Center.

Commissioner Barnhart is serving a six-year term of office that will run through January 19, 2007. She was nominated by President George W. Bush on July 17, 2001 and confirmed by the United States Senate on November 2 of that same year.

As head of the Social Security Administration (SSA), she has responsibility for administering the Social Security programs (retirement, survivors and disability), as well as the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program.

Social Security provides financial protection to more than 158 million workers and their families, and more than 48 million Americans receive monthly Social Security retirement, disability or survivor’s benefits. The SSI program pays monthly benefits to more than 7 million Americans who have little or no resources and who are aged, blind or disabled.

The 65,000-person independent, federal agency is headquartered in suburban Baltimore, with offices in Washington, D.C., and in 1,500 other locations nationwide.

Before her appointment by President Bush, Commissioner Barnhart served for more than four years as a member of the Social Security Advisory Board, an independent bi-partisan body created to advise the Congress on Social Security issues and policies.

A former SSA employee, Ms. Barnhart worked in the Office of Family Assistance from 1981-1986, first as Deputy Associate Commissioner and then as Associate Commissioner. She served as minority staff director for the United States Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs from 1986-1990. From 1990-1993, she served as Assistant Secretary for Children and Families at the Department of Health and Human Services, overseeing more than 65 programs, including Aid to Families with Dependent Children.

During her career, Ms. Barnhart has served as Senator William V. Roth, Jr.’s, legislative assistant (1977-1981) and as his campaign manager (1988, 1994 and 2000), and managed her own political and public policy consulting firm.

A graduate of the University of Delaware, Commissioner Barnhart was born in Memphis, Tennessee. She lives in Virginia with her husband and son.

“The Commissioner's visit provides an opportunity to discuss a timely public policy issue facing the nation. The president's proposal to privatize a portion of the social security program deserves careful consideration, and Ms. Barnhart's presentation and answers to audience questions should provide a unique forum for this exploration to occur,” said Dr. Jerry Beasley, president of the University.

“Our students have been investigating Social Security reform in our American government classes, and they are flattered that the Commissioner will come here personally to speak with them about the future of the program. Students and faculty alike are eager to hear the Commissioner’s thoughts on a variety of proposals, and the effects of these alternative approaches on individual security and program solvency,” said Dr. James White, associate professor of political science, who is coordinating the event.

“I am grateful to Professor Jim White for his initiative in inviting Commissioner Barnhart to the Concord campus,” Beasley added.

For more information, contact Dr. White at 1-304-384-6061.


CONCORD UNIVERSITY NOTES: Persons with disabilities should contact Nancy Ellison, 1-304-384-6086 or 1-800-344-6679, extension 6086 if special assistance or help is required for access to an event scheduled by the University on campus.

Jesse Call, a student majoring in political science and history, wrote this press release. His hometown is Pocahontas, Va.