Memorize this Number: 1-800-562-6000
For more than 40 years, the Washington State Legislature has offered a simple, easy way to contact our elected officials in Olympia—the toll-free Legislative Hotline. It's an important number for Washington state aging network advocates to know.
Why should you call? Several reasons:
- The "age wave" is very real. By 2035, 25 percent of King County's residents will be age 60 or older. As we age, our needs change. As our population ages, our communities' needs change.
- We are meant to age, and it's logical to expect our state and local governments to plan for an aging population—creating livable communities and ensuring that elders get the long-term supports and services they need to live decently and with dignity.
- During 2013 and 2014, more than 3,600 legislative measures were introduced. Fewer than 600 bills were enacted. Our state legislators are bombarded with information. It is our responsibility to let them know what matters most.
- There is power in numbers! If every person who subscribes to this newsletter makes one call or writes one letter, and then asks one other person to do the same, state legislators—even those who live in denial—will sit up and take notice of aging issues.
Jerry Reilly of the Washington State Senior Lobby said recently, "This is not a partisan issue. There's no Republican or Democratic way to grow old, or have frailty. There's a lot of good will among the legislators to get this done, but we have to give them a road map and a way to begin."
The Age Wave Coalition in Olympia has shared this graphic with state legislators, showing the percentage increase in our state’s population relative to 2012.
Following are road maps for Washington state prepared by the Washington Association of Area Agencies on Aging (W4A) and AARP Washington. Please read and then call the Legislative Hotline (1-800-562-6000) to let your legislators know what you think.
For tips on effective advocacy, see the Aging and Disability Services Advisory Council's toolkit links at www.agingkingcounty.org/advisory-council/toolkit.htm#Advocacy. If you would like to get more involved, contact ADS planner Gigi Meinig (firstname.lastname@example.org or 206-684-0652).
Contributor Ava Frisinger chairs the Seattle-King County Advisory Council on Aging & Disability Services, which publishes AgeWise King County. Ava welcomes input from readers via e-mail (email@example.com) as well as applicants for open positions on the council, when they occur. For more information, visit www.agingkingcounty.org/advisory-council.