Chair’s Corner: The Age Wave and Legislative Advocacy
It’s October. Most of the fall leaves are still on the trees. Is it too early to focus on the 2019 state legislative session? Advocacy work is never done! This is the perfect time to get advocacy tools in place and distribute information about the Aging Network.
In September, we helped to convene two Age Wave forums—one in Tukwila and one in Bellevue—to prompt state legislative candidates to focus on aging issues and to educate voters. Both were highly successful.
We stressed that Washington state is the best in the nation when it comes to long-term services and supports in home and community. This is based on a Long-Term Services & Supports State Scorecard produced by AARP Foundation, The Commonwealth Fund, The SCAN Foundation, and AARP Public Policy Institute. Washington state is Number One overall!
We shared information about this rating, maps that illustrate the projected growth in the percentage of Washington state residents who are age 65 or older, and information about the services that Aging and Disability Services provides. To read the handout, click here. Please feel free to share this information.
In October, many Seattle-King County Advisory Council on Aging & Disability Services members will attend the Washington State Senior Lobby Fall Conference. This 30th annual event brings Aging Network advocates together to discuss statewide issues in preparation for the coming legislative session.
While the agenda is still in draft form, we expect to hear Senator Karen Keiser and Representative Steve Tharinger talk about the work of the Joint Legislative Executive Committee on Aging and Disability (commonly called “the J-LEC”) and get briefed by David Schumacher, Office of Financial Management, and Andy Nicholas, Washington State Budget and Policy Center, on the 2019 State Budget and Revenue Forecast. A presentation by a member of the House of Representatives’ Tax Structure Work Group is also listed.
Bill Moss and Candace Goehring, DSHS Aging and Long-Term Support Administration, will discuss their legislative priorities, including issues facing the long-term care workforce. John Burbank, Economic Opportunity Institute, will give a Federal Budget 101 presentation and PSARA’s Steve Kofahl, Steve Bauck, and Jessica Bonebright are slated to discuss Social Security.
Washington State Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler and Jason McGill from Governor Jay Inslee’s office will update us on health care and long-term care in Washington state. The most recent draft agenda also lists presentations on the federal budget, Social Security, medication takeback programs by Representative Strom Peterson, and scams and financial exploitation.
Each year, we get an update from David Mancuso, director of the Washington State DSHS Research and Data Analysis Division, on the Age Wave. His slides from last year’s were useful in creating pages 2–3 of the handout mentioned above.
Registration for the Senior Lobby Conference closed in September; however, the Senior Lobby is an organization that you can “plug into” most months. Monthly meetings are held at Panorama City—a large retirement community in Lacey, Washington. Learn more at www.waseniorlobby.org.
One day prior to the conference, Area Agency on Aging advisory council members from across the state will meet with State Council on Aging members. Many people attend both events, which are conveniently held in the same venue. Your best bet for getting involved in these events next year is to apply to join our Advisory Council. Appointments to two-year terms are made by City of Seattle and King County. For an application form, visit the Join Us portion of our website.
Finally, your personal advocacy on aging issues can make a tremendous difference to your elected officials. Last fall, we published an AgeWise article that provides some valuable advice and links. Read or re-read “10 Tasks for Effective Legislative Advocacy” in the December 2017 issue. Learn about the people who represent you. Vote. Follow the November election results. Talk with your family members, neighbors, and friends. Help others understand the importance of federal and state support for older people, adults with disabilities, and people with memory loss.
Contributor Ava Frisinger chairs the Seattle-King County Advisory Council on Aging & Disability Services, which publishes AgeWise King County. She welcomes input from readers via e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org) as well as applicants for open positions on the council. For more information, visit www.agingkingcounty.org/advisory-council.
Following are some of the events that ADS Advisory Council members will participate in this month:
- Age Friendly Seattle Community Coffee Hour (Thursday, October 11, 10–11 a.m., Magnuson Brig)
- Age Friendly Seattle Coffee Hour with Lifelong Recreation (Thursday, October 18, 10–11 a.m., Central Building, Seattle)
- Age Friendly Coalition for Seattle and King County (Friday, October 19, 9–11 a.m., Seattle Municipal Tower 4050/4060)
- Mayor’s Council on African American Elders (Friday, October 19, 2–3:30 p.m., Seattle Municipal Tower 4090)
- “Legacy of Love” 2018 African American Caregivers Forum (Saturday, November 10, 9 a.m.–3 p.m., Doubletree Hotel Southcenter)
The next Seattle-King County Advisory Council on Aging & Disability Services meeting is on November 9, due to the W4A | State Council on Aging meeting and the Washington State Senior Citizens Lobby fall conference mentioned above.
Advisory Council meetings are open to the public. Agendas are available within a week of the meeting. For more information or to request an accommodation, contact Lori Sanford at email@example.com or 206-684-7581.