When the Texas Legislature convenes in January, AARP will be working closely with lawmakers on behalf of older Texans.
“So much this session will be about addressing ongoing and long-term issues stemming from the pandemic,” said Kathy Green, advocacy manager at AARP Texas. “There's really nothing to compare how critical this pandemic is to the future of Texas and public policy.”
In a recent Texas Bullhorn Facebook Live conversation with AARP Texas Director Tina Tran, Green outlined her team’s upcoming agenda after an unprecedented year.
With nursing home residents and staff comprising 40 percent of all COVID deaths in Texas, the crisis in long-term care facilities demands critical attention, Green said. Her team will fiercely advocate for adequate staffing, sufficient PPE and regular testing.
As the number of older Texans grows, AARP is pushing for the creation of an Interagency Council on Aging.
The AARP Texas legislative agenda doesn’t stop there. “We believe there's a real value in the healthcare offered by Advanced Practice Registered Nurses,” said Green, whose team will work with a coalition to remove unnecessary barriers for APRN’s delivering care. Increasing telehealth services, by bolstering Texas’ broadband reach, are other pressing agenda items.
Front of mind, too, is expanding food access to combat hunger among seniors and vulnerable Texans, as well as fighting for consumer issues. These issues include retirement security, protection against payday loan practices, reforms to guardianship laws and efforts to reduce the high cost of prescription drugs.
Like many things this year, the session will look different.
“The legislature has to weigh the rights of citizens to participate in their government with their health and safety,” said Green, who expects many meetings to shift online. Nevertheless, AARP Texas will continue to make our agenda heard and our policies passed.
Members can keep up with our agenda by following AARP Texas’ social media accounts and keeping an eye out for upcoming Texas Bullhorns and other Facebook Lives. To receive action alerts, click “Be an E-Advocate” at www.aarp.org.
In her 28 years of advocacy work, Green says she’s never worked with such a talented, competent team. “One thing they all have in common is a heart for social justice and ensuring that the voices of our members are elevated in the halls of public policy,” she said.