Political veterans discuss candidates' age, health issue

How old is too old?

CLEVELAND - Former Congressman Dennis Kucinich seems to be getting younger.

"I'm going to be 70 this year... I could beat most people half my age in a foot race... With advances in health care, 70 is the new 50," he said.

C. Ellen Connally is pushing 72. She was a Cleveland Municipal Judge for 24 years and served four years as Cuyahoga County Council President.

She has a favorite quote about getting older.

"Age is only a number unless you are a bottle of wine, " she declares.

Both are retired from public office.

Kucinich was beaten in a reelection bid primary by Marcy Kaptur four years ago. Republicans pitted the two otherwise unbeatable democrats together in redistricting.

Connally decided to not seek reelection because she did not want to serve a full four-year new term.

She claims she is "busier than before," reading, writing, serving on multiple boards and panels and doing historical research.

"I have like 300 book reviews on Amazon... I've got a lecture to go to tonight (in Ashtabula) and I've got seminars to prepare," she explained.

She just so happens to be working on a Cool Cleveland column on presidents' ages and health.

Kucinich keeps busy with political causes and doing media commentary.

Both agree youth and fitness, and age and sickness do not always go together.

Kucinich said, "It's not smart to generalize about a person's health and condition. You have to look at the individual."

Both think Hillary Clinton's medical moment Sunday leaving a 9/11 remembrance ceremony was the result of  a grueling campaign schedule and extreme heat.

Connally stays healthy because of regular eating and sleeping habits.

"Everybody has different DNA and different make-up. Different things happen to you," she said.

Kucinich says he learned to deal with stress by being mayor of Cleveland.

He maintains a healthy regimen of a vegan diet and no smoking or drinking.

The presidential candidates and most of us could learn from them.

The underlying issue here is not just health, but trust and transparency.

Voters want to be sure they are getting the accurate and complete picture of the candidates' mental and physical well-being.

 


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