Katy Hoffman & Alfie Thompson
If you are over age 60 and a registered voter in Johnson County, you should vote in the upcoming Silver Haired Legislature election. The purpose of the Silver Haired Legislature is to advocate for older adults and provide a voice for the older community at the state and federal level.
The Kansas Silver Haired Legislature (SHL) is composed of 125 representatives. All are over 60 and are elected from counties across Kansas. For the legislator, it provides an opportunity to experience the political process. The value for other seniors is that someone is watching what the Kansas Legislature is doing and considering how those bills will impact senior citizens. The SHL also develops bills and resolutions which are presented as recommendations to the Kansas Legislature.
As current representatives on the Silver Haired Legislature, we, Alfie Thompson and Katy Hoffman, have realized the importance of ensuring that the services provided by our government to enable seniors to enjoy a safe, full life continue to receive adequate funding. In our previous years on the SHL, we’ve advocated for things such as maintaining the funding that helps seniors with transportation problems, increasing penalties for physically or financially abusing seniors and encouraged the reauthorization and preservation of the Older Americans Act of 1965, which gives States authority over grants for community planning, social services, research and development projects for the elderly. But by far the most satisfying part of being a member of the SHL has been meeting and talking to local and area seniors.
Our future goals include promoting common sense legislation such as ensuring that children are not forced into foster care if grandparents are willing but unable to care for them without financial assistance and providing improved communication with local seniors to hear and share their needs and concerns.
Johnson County hasn’t made it easy for you to vote. The Kansas Silver-Haired Legislature election will be from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on March 10 at only one location: the Sunset Drive Office Building, 11811 S. Sunset, Room 1015 in Olathe.  Fortunately, if you cannot make it to the election site, on or before Feb. 20, you may call (913)715-8860 or (913)715-8863 to request an absentee ballot.
Information about all of the candidates is available here: http://www.jocogov.org/sites/default/files/documents/HSA/SHL_Candidates_2015.pdf