AARP Maine’s Live Tele-Town Hall with Speaker Eves and Senator Burns Reveals Deep Concerns for Mainers 50+
Thousands of AARP Members Participate, Issues Raised on Property Taxes, Aging in Place, Caregiving and Affordable Housing
PORTLAND: On Thursday, March 12th House Speaker Mark Eves (D-North Berwick) and State Senator David Burns (R-Whiting) participated in a live AARP Maine-sponsored tele-town hall. The discussion focused on the challenges facing Mainers 50+. Almost 12,000 AARP members from across the state joined the town hall meeting. Speaker Eves and Senator Burns answered many of their questions live during the call.
The focus of the discussion, moderated by AARP Maine State Director, Lori Parham, centered on issues of concern to older residents including affordable housing, caregiving, aging in place initiatives and property taxes. Speaker Eves and Senator Burns discussed measures under consideration to help older Mainers live independently and with a more secure retirement.
Questions poured in on a range of topics, but one which generated several inquiries was how family caregivers in Maine could be better supported. One caller in her early 60’s wondered what kind of help could be provided to caregivers who are working now, but considering early retirement due to their caregiving duties. Both Speaker Eves and Senator Burns pledged their commitment to addressing this issue, with Speaker Eves mentioning that more than 200,000 residents in Maine are family caregivers.
Many AARP members asked questions about property taxes which, for some residents, are a barrier to their feeling they can stay in Maine in retirement. Senator Burns stated that “the current bills being considered in the legislature do not go far enough.”
Several town hall participants also expressed concern regarding the lack of affordable housing which continues to plague many communities in Maine. One caller described her desire to downsize and move into a smaller apartment in a downtown location, but no options exist for her to be able to do this. Part of the KeepMEHome initiative, co-chaired by Speaker Eves and Senator Burns, is committed to expanding the development of affordable senior housing throughout Maine.
Both Speaker Eves and Senator Burns stated that “the best way individuals can help generate support for these initiatives is for them to stay connected with AARP Maine and their own representatives. It is very helpful for us to hear directly from our constituents.”
This tele-town hall forum is one way AARP Maine invites its members to be a part of these important discussions and offers an excellent opportunity to have their questions answered by state lawmakers. Participants were contacted by telephone and invited to join the call and ask their questions live.
“AARP Maine is pleased to be able to provide opportunities like this for our members to engage directly with members of the legislature,” said Parham. “The fact that almost 12,000 AARP members joined this town hall shows us how important these issues are and how critical it is for our lawmakers to work together in the spirit of bi-partisanship to find sustainable solutions. Speaker Eves and Senator Burns are to be commended for their efforts on behalf of Mainers 50+ and their families.”
To listen to the tele-town hall: https://soundcloud.com/aarp-maine/tele-town-hall-recording-with-speaker-eves-and-sen-david-burns
AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, with a membership of nearly 38 million, that helps people turn their goals and dreams into real possibilities, strengthens communities and fights for the issues that matter most to families such as healthcare, employment and income security, retirement planning, affordable utilities and protection from financial abuse. We advocate for individuals in the marketplace by selecting products and services of high quality and value to carry the AARP name as well as help our members obtain discounts on a wide range of products, travel, and services. A trusted source for lifestyle tips, news and educational information, AARP produces AARP The Magazine, the world's largest circulation magazine; AARP Bulletin; www.aarp.org ; AARP TV & Radio; AARP Books; and AARP en Español, a Spanish-language website addressing the interests and needs of Hispanics. AARP does not endorse candidates for public office or make contributions to political campaigns or candidates. The AARP Foundation is an affiliated charity that provides security, protection, and empowerment to older persons in need with support from thousands of volunteers, donors, and sponsors. AARP has staffed offices in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Learn more at www.aarp.org .