SARASOTA, Fla. - We have many treasures here on the Suncoast. One is the great wisdom of the senior citizens who live here. But one area resident is not about to retire to his rocking chair -- he's stepping into the political ring to do battle.
Joe Newman is 101 years old, and he's worried about the future of this country. He says age doesn't have anything to do with it; it's his obligation to step up and fight for the issues he believes in, like an increase in the minimum wage, and health care for all.
And he says he's determined to battle his way all the way to Washington D.C. to help get America back on track.
So he’s going after the 16th Congressional District seat as a write in candidate. "I say write-in, because I want to feel free to criticize the Democrats or the Republicans."
He immerses himself in books on history and philosophy, calling himself an Anthro-political Progressive, believing the purpose of government is to better society. And he says absolutely, despite his age, he has the physical and mental ability to do the job.
He says incumbent Vern Buchanan's a powerful opponent. But he disagrees with him so strongly on some issues, that he feels he must take action. "When you think what the drift this society's going in, and you think you can put an oar in the water and change the direction, you should do it."
He first got into politics to get help for his daughter, who was injured at birth. "I was part of a movement to create programs for retarded children when there were no programs for retarded children."
As an adult, his first job was with the Social Security Administration. "The job they gave me was to go out in the field and try to convince people that Social Security was beneficial to the society."
Does he really think he can beat Buchanan? "Of course not, what are the odds?"
Then why go to the trouble if he knows he's going to lose? "There is nothing that can be lost if I can get you and others to think about what the issues are."
And so at age 101, Joe Newman says his enemy is not time, or the other candidate he's running against; it's people who won't take time to study the issues, and work to correct any wrongs.
We asked Joe what the secret is to living to age 100. He says he has no idea; could be he never smoked, drank, or chased women. But whatever it is, he's going to make the most of every day he has left.
And by the way, he has a lovely, 94-year-old lady friend.