SENIOR LOBBY DAY: “YOU ALL ROCK!!” says PSARA President Robby Stern
By Maureen Bo, PSARA Administrative Vice President
HOW DO WE MAKE A DIFFERENCE? SHOW UP!!… And be ready to explain our issues and why legislators should support them.
We Did. Seniors made their voices heard by legislators on Senior Lobby Day, February 20. About 40 PSARA members joined some 200 seniors from other senior groups in the state. A morning session provided updates by Governor Inslee, Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler, Rep. Chris Reykdal (D-Thurston Co.) and representatives of agencies supporting seniors and people with disabilities.
Mike Kreidler reported that Washington State is among the top 10 states for registration in the new Affordable Care Act, and while there are still problems to overcome, progress is good. Kreidler is one of only 12 state insurance commissioners elected by voters, which may explain his continued responsiveness to state consumers.
Most members had meetings with their legislators in the afternoon, some in the morning. Reports back from members were positive. PSARA’s legislative agenda provided by our Government Relations Committee was brief and clear. Our lobbyist Pam Crone also provided participants with a succinct update of bill status. If you would like copies of either of these reports, you can call the office at 206- 448-9646, email me at adminvp@psara. org or visit our website at PSARA.org.
Our members who spoke to legislators represented us well. Most members reported good responses on our issues from their Representatives in the House.
The Senate is more difficult with the current Republican controlled majority. There is less hope for our issues passing in the Senate. But watch for emails from PSARA. Members for whom we have emails on our Constant Contact list will receive an email if there is more advocacy that can be done on our issues this session.
We have many allies to thank for this chance to promote our issues. Machinists 751 Retirees shared their bus with PSARA members and shared our issues. PSARA/Machinist members Robin and John Guevarra and Pat Paulsen helped organize the bus and recognized the benefit our organizations have in working together on our lobbying issues. Walt and Karen Bowen, leaders of the Washington Senior Lobby, did their usual excellent work in putting the conference together.
Our Government Relations Committee Co-Chair Chuck Richards, carpool drivers and Legislative District coordinators who made the appointments and arrangements helped us to show up on time and with the right information to make visits effective.
PSARA has an effective daily presence in Olympia through our lobbyist, PSARA member Pam Crone. We are developing a growing presence in the state legislative process and that is a result of you, our members. PSARA will continue to advocate for progressive policies and spending priorities in Washington that will make the lives of seniors, our children and grandchildren better.