Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Senate and House Dems cap off big month of helping Colorado Senior Citizens with Senior Day and Presidential town hall

Today is Senior day at the Capitol, President Shaffer to host Senior help day

Throughout the month of February, Democrats in the Colorado State Legislature have brought help to hundreds of Colorado seniors through legislation and outreach efforts. Senators Linda Newell (D-Littleton), Evie Hudak (D-Westminster), and Angela Giron (D-Pueblo) have all convened expert panels along the Front Range to inform senior citizens and caretakers of the many state-based resources available to them. Senator Joyce Foster (D-Denver) will host a senior outreach meeting on Thursday, February 24, at 7 p.m. at Jewish Family Services in Denver. To conclude the month-long outreach initiative, Senate President Brandon Shaffer (D-Longmont) will host a similar forum at the Longmont Public Library on Saturday, February 26 at 10 a.m.

Senator Hudak offered the following comment on the legislature’s commitment to seniors:

“We owe so much to our seniors. Too often the elders of our society go without the respect, appreciation and assistance they deserve. I’m proud to be a part of a legislature that is honoring our seniors through our work here in the Capitol and on the weekends through our outreach efforts.”

Hundreds of Colorado seniors have attended the forums, many of whom expressed gratitude for the effort share these resources with those who need them. Colorado senior Margaret Murphy attended Senator Hudak’s senior town hall in Arvada on February 19 and said “Thank you for this. The information provided was extremely relevant, and I learned a lot. I always enjoy coming to your town halls.”

In addition to the forums hosted by senators, members of the House and Senate Democratic caucuses are meeting today with senior citizens and advocates for senior issues during the annual Senior Day at the Capitol to learn how the legislature can better serve their needs.

Several members of Colorado’s House of Representatives offered their thoughts on Senior’s Day today:

“I love senior lobby day,” said Rep. Sue Schefer (D-Wheat Ridge). “Every year senior citizens come down to the captiol to let legislators know their issues of state concern, and I am always thrilled to hear them speak passionately and thoughtfully about what we’re doing here to make Colorado a better place to live, work, relax, volunteer, and retire.”

“As the only gerontologist in the legislature, I’ve been a point person for Colorado’s senior community for years,” said Representative Jim Riesberg (D-Greeley). “It’s great to see our seniors come to the capitol so that legislators can hear about their issues person to person.”

In addition to reaching out to seniors by hosting forums and participating in Senior Day at the Capitol, Senate Democrats also passed critical legislation for seniors this month, including:

House Bill 11-1028, sponsored by Senators Linda Newell and Mike Johnston (D-Denver), will support Colorado families and help them cope with the devastating effects of Alzheimer’s disease. The legislation extends a tax check-off that allows Coloradans to voluntarily contribute to the Alzheimer’s Association Fund. This bill passed the Senate and now heads to Governor Hickenlooper for consideration.

Senate Bill 11-002, sponsored by Senator Morgan Carroll (D-Aurora), will help low income residents afford telephone service. This bill passed the Senate and will next be heard in the House Transportation Committee.

Senate Bill 11-037, sponsored by Senator Rollie Heath (D-Boulder), honors World War II veterans by creating a special license plate, a small gesture to recognize heroes of “The Greatest Generation.” Both the Senate State, Veterans, and Military Affairs Committee and the Senate Finance Committee have approved this bill. It will be heard next in the Senate Appropriations Committee.