LATEST NEWS

Category
< Back to all posts
  • Maine’s live Tele-Town Hall with House Speaker Eves and State Sen. Burns reveals deep concerns for Mainers 50+

    By Ramona du Houx

    On Thursday, March 12th House Speaker Mark Eves and State Senator David Burns 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(D) and Senator Burns(R) answered many of their questions live during the call.

     Eves and Burns formed the Legislature’s first-ever Caucus on Aging to bring Democrats and Republicans together to address critical challenges facing Maine seniors. Maine has the oldest population in the country. One in four Mainers will be over the age of 65 by 2030, according to US census projections. 

    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. 

    Eves' “Keep ME Home” plan would create 1,000 units of affordable housing for seniors in each of Maine’s 16 counties through a $65 million housing bond; boost pay for in-home care workers who have not had a raise in nearly a decade; and expand property tax credits for older residents. 

     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.  Speaker Eves mentioned 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 is committed to expanding the development of affordable senior housing throughout Maine.

    Eves' “Keep ME Home” plan would create 1,000 units of affordable housing for seniors in each of Maine’s 16 counties through a $65 million housing bond; boost pay for in-home care workers who have not had a raise in nearly a decade; and expand property tax credits for older residents. 

    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.”

     Participants were contacted by telephone and invited to join the call and ask their questions live.

    “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,”said Parham.