People

Seniors & Retirees

National Democratic Seniors Coordinating Council Officers

Steve Regenstreif

Chair
3214 38th Street NW, Washington, DC 20016 | Phone: 202-363-5733

In 2013, Steve Regenstreif retired as director of the Retiree Department of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME). AFSCME,the nation's largest public employee union began organizing public sector retirees in 1980 and has had the distinction of being the fastest growing retiree organization in the labor movement. It is also the largest organization of public sector retirees in America. Since 1983, while Steve was director, the membership grew from 18,000 dues paying members to some 250,000 retirees in 250 state and local groups. During the last 15 years, the AFSCME Retirees added better than 10,000 new members each year.

Mr. Regenstreif began his career with AFSCME in 1973 and has held various positions including Assistant to the Secretary-Treasurer William Lucy, Assistant Director of the AFSCME Organizing Department and an assistant to the late national President, Jerry Wurf. From 1978 to 1981, he worked in New York and played a leading role in the permanent affiliation of the 220,000 member Civil Service Employees Association (CSEA) which brought the AFSCME membership to the one million mark. He was Director of the national Retiree Program from 1983 until his retirement. During his tenure as director, he served on the boards of the Leadership Council of Aging Organizations (LCAO) and the Alliance For Retired Americans. He was also a delegate to both the 1995 and 2005 White House Conferences on Aging, the 1998 White House Conference on Social Security and the 2006 National Summit on Retirement Savings. In August 2013, he was re-elected to a second term as Chair of the National Democratic Seniors Coordinating Council. As a result of holding this position, he is a member of the Democratic National Committee.

Maria Cordone

Executive Vice-Chair
9000 Machinists Place, Upper Marlboro, MD 20772 | Office: 301-967-3433

Maria Cordone is a 41-year member of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM&AW), an organization with over 300,000 retired members. Director of the Community Services/EAP/Retirees Department since 1997, she provided training and growth opportunities for active and retied members by recruiting, organizing and coordinating senior members in retiree chapters, and working with active members to initiate and implement programs for Employee Assistance and Community Services Representatives. She developed literature and materials for these departmental programs.

Ms. Cordone is currently the Executive Vice-Chair of the Democratic National Committee Senior Coordinating Council and is Co-Chair of the Democratic Seniors Network. She also serves on the boards of the Elderly Housing Development and Operations Corporation and the Fields of First Foundation, College Park Aviation and is active in the community, serving on the Prince George’s County Sheriff’s Department Citizen Advisory Panel and serving on the Board of the Towers in Westchester Park. She is the President and CEO of Mustard Seed, Inc., a non-profit organization involved in community-based outreach programs.

Max Richtman

Vice-Chair
10 G Street NE, Suite #600, Washington, DC 20002 | Office: 202-216-0420

A former staff director of the Senate Special Committee on Aging and 16-year veteran of Capitol Hill, Max Richtman is executive vice president of the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, the nation’s second-largest senior advocacy and education organization. Richtman, who joined the organization in 1989 as director of government relations, was named executive vice president in 1991. He also serves as director of the National Committee’s political action committee.

During his congressional career, Richtman directed a lengthy investigation of Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s enforcement of age-discrimination statutes and played key roles in reforms of the multi-billion-dollar federal and Indian oil and gas royalty collection system and Indian health care system.

Richtman began his career on Capitol Hill in 1975 as a staff assistant and counsel to the American Indian Policy Review Commission, chaired by Senator Jim Abourezk (D-SD). In 1977, Abourezk selected him as counsel to the Senate Select Committee on Indian Affairs, which Abourezk chaired. In 1979, Richtman assumed the position of staff director of the committee under new chairman, Senator John Melcher (D-MT).

In 1987, Richtman was named staff director of the Senate Special Committee on Aging, a position he held until 1989, when he joined the National Committee.

Richtman was born in Munich, Germany, and grew up in Omaha, Nebraska. He graduated cum laude from Harvard College in 1969 and received his law degree from Georgetown University Law School in 1973. He is a member of the District of Columbia Bar.

Judy Beard

Secretary
APWU | 1300 L St, NW, Washington D.C. 20005 | Office: 202-842-8584

Judy Beard serves as the elected Director of the American Postal Workers Union Retirees Department, a position she has held since 2007. The department has over 40,000 members. Ms. Beard takes pride in providing her members with educational information regarding senior issues and keeping them informed on bills introduced into Congress that could impact their retirement. She also interacts with members of her union that are still working to ensure the transition from employment to retirement is smooth, stays abreast on the problems that workers face, and informs her retiree members of those problems that the APWU president has identified can be resolved by legislative action.

Prior to serving as National Retirees Director, she held a staff position as Executive Assistant to the National Secretary Treasurer of APWU for over twenty-five years and both her current and former position are based in Washington D.C. Prior to coming to Washington D.C., she held the position of Union Minorities & Women Leadership Program Specialist at the University of Michigan in the School of Industrial Relations. She is a retired postal employee, and has been a member of the APWU for over 45 years. Ms. Beard is committed to helping the working class fight for the benefits they are entitled to.

Linda Chavez-Thompson

Treasurer
6226 Meadow Haven San Antonio, TX 78239 | Home: 210-599-0497

Linda Chavez-Thompson was elected as executive vice president of the AFL-CIO at the federation’s 1995 convention and served in this position for twelve years, until September of 2007. She was the first person to hold the post of executive vice president and the first person of color to be elected to one of the federation's three highest offices. She now holds the title of executive vice president emerita.

A native of Lubbock, Texas, Chavez-Thompson is a second-generation American of Mexican descent. Upon her retirement, she celebrated 40 years of experience in the labor movement, beginning in 1967 with her first work for the Laborers' local union in Lubbock. She went on to serve in a variety of posts with the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) in San Antonio, Texas, and became an international vice president in 1988, a post she held until 1996. She also served from 1986 to 1996 as a national vice president of the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement, AFL-CIO. In 1993, Chavez-Thompson was elected and served a two-year term as one of 31 vice presidents on the Executive Council of the national AFL-CIO.

As executive vice president emerita of the federation, Chavez-Thompson will continue work on behalf of the AFL-CIO as Chair of the AFL-CIO Immigration Committee and as a member of the board of the American Association for People with Disabilities. She will continue to serve as a Vice Chair of the Democratic National Committee and as the president of the Trade Union Confederation of the Americas, which is the Western Hemispheric arm of the International Trade Union Confederation.

James F. Centner

Executive Board Member
60 Boulevard of the Allies, Pittsburgh PA 15222 | Office: 412-562-2575

Jim is a 36 year member of the United Steelworkers, an organization with over 400,000 retirees. He currently serves as Director of the Steelworkers Organization of Active Retirees (SOAR); a position he has held since 2001. Prior to this, Jim served as a Health and Safety Specialist and as the Assistant Director of the union’s Membership Development Department.

SOAR was established in 1985 to allow the union’s retired members to continue to be actively involved in their union. Centner handles the day-to-day administration of the Steelworkers retiree organization. He assists it leadership in recruiting, organizing and coordinating senior members in retiree SOAR chapters.

Jim is a member of the United Steelworkers Leadership Team. He also serves as a board member of the Alliance for Retired Americans and chair of the Emerging Retirees and Benefits Committee. In addition, he serves on the board of the Elderly Housing Development and Operations Corporation, Pennsylvania properties.

Recent Updates
  • Seniors in The Villages phone bank for Barack

    Former Iowa Gov. Chet Culver stopped by a standing-room-only senior-to-senior phone bank in The Villages, Florida, this morning on the Gotta Vote bus tour. Florida is one of the key battleground states in this election, and the race remains close—but seniors here know who's fighting for them, and it's not the guy who's planning to end Medicare as we know it by turning it into a voucher program.

    Former Iowa Gov. Chet Culver stopped by a standing-room-only senior-to-senior phone bank in The Villages, Florida, this morning on the Gotta Vote bus tour. Florida is one of the key battleground states in this election, and the race remains close—but seniors here know who's fighting for them, and it's not the guy who's planning to end Medicare as we know it by turning it into a voucher program.

    "I don't know how a senior citizen in the state of Florida could vote for [Mitt Romney]," said Culver. "I just don't know how. He's telling you right now, along with his running mate, that they're going to turn Medicare into a voucher system. That voucher system could come up at least $6,000–$7,000 short. Do you all have an extra $6,000–7,000 lying around each year for the next five, 10, 20 years? This is an issue I care about, you care about, my mother cares about, my father cares about. This guy is wrong, and Florida, you can' t let him win."

    Seniors aren't just fighting for Medicare. They're fighting for a president who's not going to write them off as dependent victims.

    "I would be ashamed if I were Romney," says Nancy, who participated in today's senior-to-senior phone bank. "The rest of us struggle all the time. I'm in one of the groups he calls the 47 percent. If we didn't have Social Security and Medicare, we would be bankrupt. My husband and I would be bankrupt. That's just how simple it is.

    "He doesn't have a clue about what people go through to pay the bills and save a little bit."

    Don't let Romney win.

    Commit to vote

  • Counting on us to vote

    As Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz told Waterloo, Iowa, ''President Obama is counting on us to make sure we continue to move forward together.''

    Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz:

    "President Obama is counting on us to make sure we continue to move forward together.

    "Students who can’t afford to go to college unless we keep making college affordability a top priority are counting on us.

    "Seniors who can’t afford to buy their life-saving prescription medications without Obamacare are counting on us.

    "Middle-class families who are working hard every day to put a roof over their families’ heads and put food on the table are counting on us.

    "Remember: It was the hard work, the incredible passion and the amazing energy of Americans like you that helped put President Obama over the top in 2008.

    "Now we need you to channel that momentum and give everything you've got to doing it again on November 6."

    Gotta vote.

  • In His Own Words

    Let's let Mitt Romney speak for himself about who it's his job to worry about. (Hint: it's only about half the country!)
  • LOAD MORE
Seniors & Retirees
Recent Action
President signs a landmark treaty for the Visually Impaired
June 28, 2013
The treaty facilitates the development and distribution of accessible-format print works within the framework of the international copyright system.
Protecting Medicare payments and helping preserve employee pensions
Democrats passed the Preservation of Access to Care for Medicare Beneficiaries and Pension Relief Act to reduce the potential for Medicare fraud and help employer pensions suffering from the recession.
Creating greater health care competition and accountability
Democrats passed the Affordable Care Act, providing consumers more choices and improved accountability.
Milestones