Jim Martin is founder and chairman of the 60 Plus Association, a non-partisan seniors’ advocacy group with a free enterprise, limited government, less taxes approach. Jim set ending the federal estate (death) tax and saving Social Security and Medicare, as top priorities. 60 Plus is the “acknowledged alternative to the AARP” and has been called “an increasingly influential advocacy group for the elderly.”
Jim is credited with popularizing the term “death” tax for “estate” tax. One reporter wrote, “Jim Martin renamed the Estate Tax to try to kill it.” Another writer said, “Jim Martin came up the idea of re-labeling the Estate Tax as the Death Tax.” He called Jim’s rhetoric “politically brilliant as he made the tax seem especially cruel.” President George W. Bush said, “Jim Martin deserves particular credit for leading the movement to repeal the Death Tax.”
In 1953, at age 17, Jim Martin joined the Marines as the Korean “conflict” concluded and served two tours on active duty. In 1955, his Battalion Commander awarded Jim a meritorious citation for “exemplary conduct and leadership qualities.” In 1956, Sergeant Martin began a two-year tour of duty as an elite Marine Security Guard at the American Embassy in Djakarta, Indonesia. Returning to college in 1959, Jim earned a Bachelor of Science in Journalism in 1962 from the University of Florida, where he won a William Randolph Hearst Award for his writing skills.
Jim covered Congress (1962-64), including the August 28, 1963 “I Have a Dream” March on Washington and the tragic 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy. News bureau outlets included the Tampa Tribune, Florida Times Union (Jacksonville), Columbia (SC) State, Augusta (GA) Chronicle, WFLA-TV (Tampa), WGBS (Miami), WDBO (Orlando). Mr. Martin was Administrative Assistant/Press Secretary (1964-1969) to Congressman, then U.S. Senator, Edward J. Gurney (R-Winter Park). In 1968, Jim was instrumental in hiring a 22-year-old Yale University graduate –George W. Bush– to work on Gurney’s Senate campaign.
Jim was an alternate delegate to the 2000 Republican National Convention in Philadelphia, and in 2002, President Bush appointed him a White House delegate to the second World Congress on Aging in Madrid, Spain. Jim was profiled as “A Gator Goes to Washington” in the 2003 University of Florida Alumni Magazine. Jim has testified more than a dozen times before House and Senate Committees on issues affecting seniors.
Three of his speeches have been published in Vital Speeches of the Day: Personalizing Social Security, Unplugging the Third Rail; The Death Tax, Dying Should Not Be a Taxable Event; and Seniors and Global Warming, The Kyoto Treaty. Jim has been quoted in the Wall Street Journal, The Financial Times, L A. Times, Washington Post and N.Y. Times. He has appeared on ABC TV, Fox TV, including O’Reilly Factor, Hannity, Cavuto, Huckabee, Dobbs, Varney, also, MSNBC and CSPAN’s Washington Journal, as well as hundreds of radio talk shows.
In his 70s Jim swam a mile daily, pitched for an over-75 softball team and; in his 60s, played basketball in two leagues where he was the leading scorer in both the over-60 and over-65 leagues in 2003. Now in his 80s he swims ½ mile daily and plays on an over-80 basketball team which won a Bronze Medal in Birmingham in the 2017 National Senior Games. He also pitches for an over-80 softball team which won the Gold in Columbus, Ohio in 2018.
Jim was born March 20, 1936 in Hazard, Kentucky. He and his wife, Mary Lou, have 7 children and 15 grandchildren and reside in Alexandria, VA.
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