Last night, Mayor Vincent Gray delivered his State of the District Address, recapping his Administration’s accomplishments of the past year and casting a vision for the coming year.
AARP DC was in the audience at the Historic 6 th and I Synagogue to hear how the Mayor planned to tackle the issues facing persons 50+ and further establish the District as an Age-Friendly City. We listened as the Mayor shaped his speech around his One City Action Plan, focusing on the three goals of the plan: 1) Grow and Diversify the District economy, 2) Educate and Prepare the Workforce for the New Economy, and 3) Improve the Quality of Life for All. He spoke about the number of cranes in the city as a sign of economic boom; he urged the city to push toward a day when all District residents would be prepared for and have access to meaningful employment; he touted improvements to public safety as improvements to the quality of residential life; and he announced a new investment strategy to preserve and develop affordable housing.
So where were the age 50+ residents in this? The Mayor only mentioned “seniors” once – “But everyone deserves to benefit from our prosperity – including: The seniors who have paved the way for that very success.” Yet, the vitality of the age 50+ resident is dependent on each area of the vision set forth by the Mayor. To live healthily and safely, these citizens need vibrant public schools, reductions in crime, affordable housing options, and a strong workforce.
Ideally, the Mayor would have mentioned Age-Friendly Cities explicitly. But if the Mayor adopts the principles of Age-Friendly Cities and uses them to approach each of the goals he set forth in his Address, the impact will be much greater than one line in a speech. You can find the full text of the Address here http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/dc-wire/post/mayor-vincent-grays-state-of-the-district-address-full-text/2011/03/28/AFxgVArB_blog.html. Tell us what you think.
[Photo courtesy of Juan Hernandez]