Nine legislators honored for legislative efforts on behalf of older Texans

HOUSTON, TEXAS–AARP Texas is recognizing the work of State Representative John Zerwas of Richmond by presenting him with a 2013 Legislative Leadership Award.

The award recognizes Representative Zerwas’ leadership on long-term care issues critical to older Texans and their families. He helped increase nursing home reimbursement rates, which have long been one of the lowest in the country and are a cause of high staff turnover and poor quality care. He also helped secure a wage increase for the community-based attendants who care for frail seniors, bringing the base wage for the lowest-paid attendants up to $7.86 an hour.

“Thanks to the leadership of Representative John Zerwas, the state budget this time around made significant steps toward improving the quality care for older Texans who need to be in nursing homes. We applaud his success in protecting these vulnerable Texans,” said Bob Jackson, AARP Texas director.

John Zerwas legislative awardAARP is also honoring several other legislators for their work on behalf of Texans age 50+, including:

  • Representative Senfronia Thompson (D-Houston) and Senator Jose Rodriguez (D-El Paso) for protecting seniors from financial abuse through power of attorney legislation
  • Senate Robert Duncan (R-Lubbock) and Representative Bill Callegari (R-Katy) for work to strengthen the retirement systems for teachers and state employees
  • Representative Sylvester Turner (D-Houston) for leadership and dedication to protecting services for seniors
  • Representative Tom Craddick (R-Midland) for leadership on payday and auto title lending reform
  • Representative Linda Harper Brown (R-Irving) and Senate Rodney Ellis (D-Houston) for leadership towards providing more transportation options for older Texans

Awards will be presented to legislators at ceremonies in their hometowns. AARP presents these awards every two years, after each state legislative session.