Posts Tagged ‘Caring Across Generations Lobby Day’

Raising the Dough

Wednesday, May 1st, 2013

By Maureen Bo, PSARA Adminstrative Vice President

With many legislators saying: “Oh, No! We can’t raise revenues,” PSARA and our partners in Caring Across Generations Coalition stepped up to raise the dough—with our dough. Boxes and trays of baked goods, donated by PSARA members and friends, were sold in the State Legislative Building at the Caring Across Generations Lobby Day. We made our point as visibly as possible, with visits to the leaders of the House and Senate, and notification to the press. When building security made us move out of the building, we set up our table outside between two legislative office buildings and did good sales and education there.

Our point was that we must restore home care workers’ hours that were cut in 2008 and provide the workers with a living wage. Home Care workers who care for elderly and disabled individuals in their homes provide an important service to the individuals, allowing them to live safely, in dignity and privacy of their own home, rather than be sent to a nursing home. Home care is much less expensive than nursing home care, for the individual or for the state in the case of Medicaid eligible people. It is one of many human services that have been cut during the economic downturn. We say stop! It’s time to tax the Lear Jet sales and corporate tax loopholes that don’t benefit residents of our state.

The idea and energy for the action came from Kate Hunter, PSARA member and long-time political activist. Kate and other PSARA members provided baked goods. A flyer and press notices were created with the help of Washington CAN. We set up a table with goods and flyers, and Kate led the sales by approaching visitors, staff and legislators to buy pastries to help us raise state revenue for Home Care workers. Kate was polite, gentle and relentless in explaining the problem and the need. In all $288 were raised, including a donation from House Speaker Frank Chopp, a long time supporter of home care workers.

Our delegation planned to visit the offices of Senate and House Leaders, give them each half of the money and tell them what it must be used for. Legislators were in intense committee meetings and budget negotiations. We arranged to meet with a staff member for Speaker Chopp and were told to ask Majority Leader Rodney Tom to join us for a brief meeting outside the committee hearing he was attending.

We had a good meeting with House Speaker Frank Chopp’s aide who was very supportive of our requests. We could not get a response from Senator Rodney Tom (the Democrat who joined the Republican coalition in the Senate) even though we sent a message into his committee and waited in the hall nearby for quite a while. A letter has been sent to House and Senate leaders (see Robby’s column), informing them of the dollars raised and our donation of the funds to DSHS for Home Care funding.

Many thanks to Kate Hunter who inspired and engineered much of the action.

Caring Across Generations Lobby Day

Sunday, March 3rd, 2013

 By Robby Stern

The Silver Tsunami is arriving as the oldest edge of the baby boomer generation is reaching their mid 60s. While the vast majority of this generation does not yet need assistance with life’s daily tasks, we know enough about the aging process to know that the time will come when many of them will need help of some kind to stay in their own homes. PSARA is working on these issues right now!

The first annual Washington Caring Across Generations Lobby Day will occur on March 28th in Olympia. Our goal will be to introduce legislators to the Caring Across Generations campaign. We will also advocate for legislation at the state level that will address the changes necessary to allow seniors, people with disabilities and individuals needing care to get the support they need to continue to live in their homes.

PSARA members are invited to join with members of 31 other organizations on this advocacy effort in Olympia on March 28.

PSARA is also part of the national Caring Across Generations campaign which is working to address the present challenges of home care as well as the future needs created by someone turning 65 every 10 seconds. Engaging in efforts at both the federal, state and local level, we promote policies and legislation that will allow disabled people and our aging population to experience their senior years with dignity and respect.

At the same time, we support legislation that insures that those who work to provide the care earn a family wage and also have access to the training they need. Many of the workers providing care services are immigrants, some of whom lack legal status.

As the baby boomers age, there will be a need for a much larger number of care workers, many of whom will come from the immigrant population. The Caring Across Generations campaign will work for comprehensive immigration reform to allow many of these care workers and their families to come out of the shadows. These families, too, deserve to live with dignity and respect in our communities.

This year the Washington Care Council, the decision-making arm of the campaign at the state level, has adopted an ambitious legislative agenda. The elements of the legislative goals include:

– Support for the full Medicaid expansion (many care workers and care recipients will become Medicaid eligible as a result of the full implementation of the Affordable Care Act).

– Subsidies for medical coverage for people who earn above the income level for Medicaid eligibility but whose income is too low for them to be able to afford medical coverage. (This includes many care workers.)

– Urging the state to take advantage of the federal Community First Choice Option which would restore recent cuts to home and community-based long term care services and prevent additional cuts. This would bring an additional $50 million of federal revenue to the state but would require a state allocation of funds to receive the federal match.

– Support for passage of Paid Sick Days legislation (similar to Seattle’s ordinance) and a Family & Medical Leave Insurance program that would cover the entire state. This would assure that no worker would have to choose between economic security and family health and well-being when the worker or a family member requires care.

– Support for legislation that will facilitate immigrants playing the critical role of caregivers and domestic workers. This includes legislation related to access to education, health care, documentation (e.g. drivers licenses) and other tools needed to fill the crucial roles they play in our homes and communities.

This 1st Annual Lobby Day will afford PSARA members the opportunity to meet people from many different backgrounds and national origins who are part of the Caring Across Generations campaign.

Transportation, lunch, childcare and language interpretation will be provided.

If you would like to participate in this day long effort in Olympia, read the flyer in the middle of this issue of the Retiree Advocate and respond by March 21 to assure yourself a place on the bus.