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Commentary: N.C. Senior Tar Heel Legislature meets

Commentary: N.C. Senior Tar Heel Legislature meets
November 02
08:00 2017

CHAPEL HILL — The Senior Tar Heel Legislature (STHL) met on Oct. 3 and 4 to elect new executive officers, review existing priorities and host several informative speakers as the year concludes.

On Day One, outgoing Speaker Dr. Althea Taylor-Jones was honored by the presence of students majoring in gerontology and enrolled in the Public Policy, Aging and Society class at Winston-Salem State University. Students observed customary proceedings of the general body and attended committee meetings to gain insight into the process used for the development and/or maintenance of resolutions/priorities.

Mary Edwards, MA, consumer affairs program manager, Division of Aging and Adult Services (DAAS), North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, provided the status of bills affecting seniors. She also provided health rankings from the United Health Foundation.

Regarding spending on home and community services, North Carolina is ranked 35th with $335 per person for those over 60 in poverty in comparison to the first-ranked state spending $3,599. North Carolina is ranked 23rd in suicides per 100,000 (see http://www.AmericasHealthRankings.org).

Stacey Hurly, No Wrong Door state coordinator with the Division of Aging and Adult Services, reported on the “211” Program.  Dial “211” or http://www.NC211.org to get free and confidential information on such topics as: food, housing, utility assistance, health care services, counseling, metal health, and substance, abuse services, disaster services, and more.  Also known as “No Wrong Door,” this is a partnership between the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, Division of Aging and Adult Services (DAAS) and the United Way of North Carolina.

Gray Fullwood, special agent, State Bureau of Investigation, advised about pharmaceutical diversion, the opioid crisis and environmental crimes.  Addicts keep seeking drugs so that “they don’t get sick.”  She can be reached at 984-204-2722 or gfullwood@nullnc.sbi.gov.

The final business ended with the Issues Committees meeting to reconsider priorities for 2018. Following all formal business, a reception was held for the outgoing speaker Dr. Althea Taylor-Jones. Attendees included Senior Tar Heel Legislators, Area Agency on Aging staff and guests.

Day Two started with Van Braxton, deputy commissioner of the Senior Health Insurance Information Program (SHIPP).  SHIIP recently held six Town Halls across the state.  Open enrollment is Oct 15 – Dec 7. SHIIP may be contacted at 855-408-1212 or http://www.ncdoi.com/SHIIP/Default.aspx.

A dynamic panel of speakers moderated by Mary Edwards included, Charmaine Fuller-Cooper, associate state director, North Carolina AARP; Mary Bethel, chair, North Carolina Coalition on Aging; and Roger Manus, Governor’s Advisory Council on Aging. They encouraged Senior Tar Heel Legislators to  advocate on behalf of older adults.

The final event of our meeting involved the election of new executive officers. Executive officers are elected by majority vote every two years. The Oath of Office for newly elected officers was administered by the outgoing Speaker, Dr. Althea Taylor-Jones. The new Senior Tar Heel Legislature Speaker for the 2018-2019 Term of Office is Rev. J. Dwight Cartner from Davidson County. Speaker Cartner addressed the organization after being sworn in and made a commitment to keeping advocacy and meeting with our elected officials as his top priorities. More details about Speaker Cartner and the other elected executive officers can be found at our website.

Please feel free to contact your local delegate Dr. Althea Taylor-Jones at 336-996-3866 or drataylorjones@nullgmail.com, or the local Area Agency on Aging (AAA) at 336-904-0300 or http://www.ptrc.org. You can also visit our website at: http://www.ncsthl.org as well as our Facebook page. The next meeting of the Senior Tar Heel Legislature will be held March 13-14, 2018, in Chapel Hill.

Victor Heinrich is the delegate to the N.C. Senior Tar Heel Legislature representing Carteret County. He serves as the chairman of the Public Relations and Publicity Committee.

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Tevin Stinson

Tevin Stinson

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