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Legislators can make a difference for Texas seniors - The Galveston County Daily News : Guest Columns

November 27, 2014

Legislators can make a difference for Texas seniors

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Posted: Thursday, April 24, 2014 12:00 am

I’ve written of past successes the Silver Haired Legislature’s resolutions have had with the State Legislature in helping create worthwhile senior legislation. We do make a difference because we listen to you, our peers, and the State Legislature takes the issues seriously when we ask for their support. They know we do not approach them unprepared. All of this is a united effort and one to which we have dedicated our time, experience and energy. Be warned, big budget items are almost sure to fail.

In two weeks, TSHL will be meeting in the House Chambers of the Capitol. We will be debating the value of more than 100 resolutions written by our peers. We have been gathering the proof of these needs for almost two years at town meetings, political rallies, church presentations and seminars at various colleges and senior centers. 

In February, a remarkable town hall meeting at Abilene Christian University attended by more than 150 seniors. Facilitated by former TSHL speakers Walter Graham and Chris Kyker, several local and state representatives, local members of the TSHL and members from San Antonio, Dallas, Houston and Amarillo participated along with college students. 

This was a first-time effort of three generations gathering to help seniors open pathways to change. Some students admittedly attended only to collect “chapel credits” and found their minds opened to new ideas.

Our coastal area TSHL is having a similar meeting in May, therefore, I am using the Abilene experience as a cross section of what is typical of Texas senior thinking. The Abilene meeting had full press coverage in the Abilene Reporter News.

The following is a list of the committees which mirror those in the State Legislature with one issue of 92 submitted during the meeting. All of the collective data can’t be included, but you can quickly identify with many that apply to our area and notice others that are missing. The same format will be used at the local meeting May 15, sponsored by Lee College, Rep. Wayne and TSHL. 

The following nine Committees will soon be very hard at work for all seniors. 

1. Criminal Justice — regulate and secure border transportation, for rural areas;

2. Education — more geriatric physicians utilities;

3. Health and human resources — need for affordable long-term care;

4. Human services — respite care programs for family caregivers;

5. Insurance — cut costs for seniors on auto, health and flood insurance;

6. Retirement and Aging — limit fees for seniors and vets on “payday” loans;

7. Rural and urban — provide transportation facilities for seniors for social activities and medical needs (rural residents difficulty);

8. State affairs — cut property taxes for widows, widowers and full-time caregivers;

9. Utilities and natural resources — assist with water resources.

Don’t forget the TSHL open meeting at Lee College at 9:30 a.m. May 12. Lunch will be provided. Discussions of any issue placed on the table will be on the agenda, and we welcome all attendees. This should give us a good chance to let the 84th State Legislators know what we expect and, hopefully, act on when elected. Be thinking of your own issues and come to the meeting. Until then, talk to your legislators! Be Safe.