Shelby, Cordts represent Rowan at Tar Heel Legislature

Published 12:00 am Monday, March 30, 2009

Jerry Shelby and Larry Cordts represented Rowan County at the 15th anniversary celebration of the NC Senior Tar Heel Legislature meeting March 17-18 in Raleigh.
The Senior Legislature, established by the N.C. General Assembly in 1993, encourages citizen involvement and advocacy concerning aging issues, provides information and education to senior adults and the general public regarding issues before the General Assembly, and makes recommendations to the assembly on legislative needs of senior North Carolinians.
Shelby is the delegate from Rowan County to the Senior Tar Heel Legislature and Cordts is the alternate delegate. Shelby serves on the resolutions and the legislation issues committees. The resolutioncommittee is responsible for developing the process of identifying benefits, expenditures and financial returns, setting the priority, and the presentation of the resolutions to the General Assembly for consideration into law.
Of special interest to the delegates were issues related to the budget cuts that will affect key senior support functions for 2009 and 2010, and the priorities of the General Assembly for the budget session. Some of the accomplishments and resolutions that were turned into legislative bills or budgeted items over the past 15 years were also shared with newer delegates.
Past officers of the organization were also recognized with special lapel pins.
Speakers at the meeting included:
Maria Spaulding, Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), deputy secretary for Long term Care and Family Services, spoke on seniors being able to keep their property.
Dennis Street, director for N.C. Division of Aging and Adult Services, spoke about the federal recovery funds for elder nutrition funding for congregate meals program and home delivered meals program, the one-time $250 payment to Social Security beneficiaries will get in May or June, work training for older adults, Prevention and Wellness fund to develop a N.C. Roadmap for Healthy Aging and an evidence-based chronic disease self-management project, and evidence-based health promotion through exercise, proper eating, and nutrition.
Other DAAS topics included the budget cuts, the Home and Community Block Grant that helps keep seniors in their homes including the meals on wheels and alternative transportation has a waiting list of more than 13,000 elders who need special assistance. Also discussed was keeping senior centers operating to support the increased usage and demands for expanded services. The early and possible causalities of the economic crunch/crisis were reviewed. The has more than 6,200 providers listed in the community resource data base representing 14,000 services.
Sabrena Lea, Office of Long Term Care Services, described the implementation of the state’s seamless service system to help seniors and the disabled population called Community Resource Connection (CRC) so a person only has to make one visit or phone call to get all the information they need to handle the problem or situation they have.
The NCSTHL Advocacy Committee presented ways to advocate to our congress.
Lt. Governor Walter Dalton spoke about the value and experiences of senior citizens during this economic crisis. This group has seen the problem before and has been resolute to bounce back and even stronger.
A panel discussion “A first look at the priorities and leaders of the new administration and general assembly” was led by Bill Wilson, N.C. AARP; and Chris Fitzsimmons, N.C. Policy Watch.
A reception for the 15th anniversary of the NCSTHL was held by Gov. Beverly Perdue at the Governor’s Mansion. The reception was the first reception held by the new governor. Perdue was a state senator who sponsored Senate Bill 479 that created the North Carolina Senior Tar Heel Legislature in 1993.
At the end of the session, delegates were free to visit the legislature to advocate the issues of interest to their community, county and the state.