Continues Weekly “Tuesdays at the State House” for AARP Volunteer Advocates
PORTLAND: As the 129th legislators are sworn in, AARP Maine announces its 2019 Legislative Agenda which includes a focus on long term care system reform, restoration of home and community-based services, housing and livable communities, financial security, fair utility rates, and broadband expansion.
AARP Maine concluded the 2018 “Tuesdays at the State House” today with nearly 50 AARP volunteer advocates in attendance. Every Tuesday from January through April, and then once monthly, AARP Maine was represented by engaged volunteers who attended hearings, greeted legislators and delivered testimony before committees during the 128th legislative session. Today, volunteers gathered to welcome legislators to the State House and witness the legislative inauguration and leadership elections.
“On behalf of our more than 230,000 members statewide and our team of member advocates who are in Augusta each week, AARP Maine looks forward to working with legislative leaders from both sides of the aisle in 2019,” said Lori Parham, AARP Maine State Director. “It is critical that our newly elected and re-elected legislators work together to address important issues that affect residents 50+ for the benefit of all Mainers.”
One of the priorities for AARP Maine in 2019 is a focus on long-term care system reform. This will continue our work of supporting Maine’s 178,000 unpaid family caregivers, addressing the shortage of paid caregivers, and achieving Medicare and Medicaid coverage for respite and other supportive services. We call on leadership at all levels of government to prioritize Maine’s long-term care system by leveraging existing federal funds to restore home and community-based services such as the Medicare Savings Program and Drugs for the Elderly; programs which are specifically designed to help low-income seniors and disabled adults.
AARP Maine will also support measures to increase Mainers’ financial security. The top priority is the release of a $15 million affordable senior housing bond that was passed in 2015 by the legislature and approved by 70 percent of Mainer voters. This bond is a critical investment in home repair, weatherization, modification and new home construction for older and working Mainers. The vast majority of Mainers want to age in their own homes and communities. Safe, affordable and accessible housing, partnered with adequate home and community-based services, make communities across our state more livable for people of all ages.
Other financial security policy priorities include property tax relief through the restoration of municipal revenue sharing, student loan debt relief, and policies to address food insecurity. Further, AARP Maine will persist in our efforts to ensure affordable and transparent prescription drug prices.
AARP advocates for election procedures that facilitate high level of voter participation. We will continue to support voting systems and registration procedures designed to encourage maximum participation in the electoral process.
AARP Maine will also monitor changes to telecom and electric utility rates and services in the state to ensure prices remain fair and affordable. In addition, AARP Maine continues to support expansion of Broadband service throughout the state. Broadband access is often necessary for the use of new technologies such as telehealth and telemedicine that improve the quality of life for people of all ages and help Mainers to age in place successfully. It is also critically important for small business owners and entrepreneurs.
“AARP Maine and all us of volunteer advocates look forward to working with Governor Mills and state lawmakers in the 129th legislative session to ensure that Maine continues to be a place where people 50+ want to live, work and retire,” Parham said.