Eric Kingson

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Eric Kingson Professor of social work at Syracuse University's Aging Studies Institute and co-founding director of the Social Security Works coalition.

Take Back the American Dream Conference 2011

Eric Kingson was one of the 158 speakers who addressed the Take Back the American Dream Conference 2011 . The Conference was hosted by the Institute for Policy Studies, and Democratic Socialists of America dominated Campaign for America's Future, [1]


Eric Kingson is a Berniecrat, a term used for those democrats (generally) running for office who have expressed support of former presidential candidate Bernie Sanders.[2]

PDA meeting, Maryland

Thursday March 15, 2012, PDA National Director Tim Carpenter, PDA National Vice Chair emeritus Stephen Shaff, PDA National Deputy Field Director Andrea Miller and Mike Hersh welcomed speakers Rep. Donna Edwards (Md-6), Professor Eric Kingson from Social Security Works, and Alex Lawson from We Act 1480 AM Radio to Busboys and Poets in Hyattsville, Maryland.

Current and former PDA National Board Members Medea Benjamin, Joe Libertelli and Steve Cobble, Healthcare NOT Warfare co-chair Donna Smith, and Maryland Senator Paul Pinsky also helped welcome progressives to Prince George's County's newest meeting place. The turnout included several important progressive leaders from Maryland's 4th, 6th, and 8th districts.

Special thanks to the Very Important Progressive Host Committee including--Stephen Shaff; PDA board member Bill Fletcher, Jr., Raucus Activist Writer; Alex Lawson, Social Security Works and WE ACT Radio; Heather Booth, Activist; Steve Cobble, PDA Political Advisor, and Institute for Policy Studies; Medea Benjamin; Tom Hucker, MD Delegate, D-20; Greg Moore, NAACP/Political Consultant; Beth Becker, Progressive PST; Naomi Bloch, Activist who donated a small library of books; David Hart, Physicians for Social Responsibility; Beth Schulman, IPS; Greg Smith, Activist; Joe Libertelli; Mark Dudzic; Jimmy Tarlau, Communication Workers of America; Kerren-Pope Onwukwe, Attorney/Activist; and Andrea Miller.[3]

2016 run

In 2016 he stood for U.S. House of Representatives, New York's 24th District.

Dr. Eric Kingson, a gerontologist, signed up for Social Security after he turned 69. But talk to Kingson, who has a Ph.D. in social work and teaches part-time at Syracuse University, and you’ll hear someone who sounds like a young idealist. At a time when most people his age are either retired or thinking about it, Kingson is running for Congress for the first time in his life because he wants to help change the country's direction. “I’m proud to be running for office at 69, because I have a lot to offer," says Kingson, who was active in the Civil Rights Movement in college. Kingson is running on a platform to expand and strengthen Social Security and Medicare and to improve women’s healthcare. But most of all, he wants to stop Republicans from dismantling Social Security.

He and Sen. Bernie Sanders found themselves aligned in that fight in 2012, when they were among 200 people who took over the Senate floor to protest Social Security cuts. “Bernie played a pivotal role in coordinating the pushback to proposed cuts to the annual cost of living adjustments,” Kingson says. Although Sanders has not endorsed Kingson—or anyone—in the 24th district race, the admiration appears to be mutual: Sanders praised the book Kingson co-authored in 2014 with Nancy Altman, Social Security Works! Why Social Security Isn’t Going Broke and How Expanding It Will Help Us All.

“Social Security Works! puts expanding Social Security front and center on the national agenda, where it belongs. Everyone who has a stake in the debate should read this important book,” wrote Sanders.

The 24th district, which leans Democratic, is currently represented by Republican John Katko. Kingson charges that Katko wants to either cut or privatize Social Security; Katko says he believes that "anyone at or near retirement age should not face cuts,” but that he doesn’t support “anything that raises taxes.”

Kingson is running against two Democrats in the primary: Colleen Deacon, former central New York regional director for U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), and Steven Williams, a former U.S. Navy JAG Corps officer.

The big guns are supporting Deacon, a single mother. Her former boss Gillibrand is backing her, and so is Sen. Charles Schumer, (D-N.Y.), who is expected to become the Democratic leader of the U.S. Senate in 2017 when Harry Reid retires.

Deacon also has the backing of EMILY’s List and of a number of Democratic elected officials in the 24th district, whose largest city is Syracuse. But Kingson just picked up the endorsement of Congressman Steve Israel, a Democrat who represents New York's 3rd District.


Steve Israel, U.S. Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.), Blue America.



  1. Our Future website: Take Back the American Dream 2011 Speakers (accessed on Sept. 22, 2011)
  2. Berniecrats, accessed August 24
  3. [, PDA website, Donna Edwards Joins PDA in Hyattsville Friday, 16 March 2012 14:46 Written by Mike Hersh]