Updated April 2022
Since my first campaign effort seeking to represent House District 13 that began more than four years ago, I have not retreated from my consistent position of the importance that the State Legislature must begin to pay more attention to SENIOR CITIZEN issues and their needs. Their issues have not changed, but have grown increasingly more desperate for many of them.
Higher property values increasingly add to higher property taxes that make it impossible for more senior citizens to live comfortably in their retirement.
The measly tax credit given to senior citizens for their state social security taxes created by the 2021 State Legislature does not go nearly far enough to help our elderly pay for increased monthly Medicare premiums that are more than their increased monthly social security payments they receive this year from the federal government.
Our senior citizens have less total fixed income than before.
Without grandparents, there wouldn't be anybody to read this website. Their sacrifices, in many cases, made it possible for the "last" adult generation to have a life that by many measures became better than their own. Many grandparents have become child care givers, helping their own children by taking care of their children's children. Many elderly grew up during a time when hard work, frugal spending, and looking out for others were the values of their time. They conscientiously saved their money, paid taxes regularly for social security for decades with the expectation that their Golden Years would be lived in security and peace of mind.
The Future Economic Security of Our Senior Citizens Threatened
Now many senior citizens find themselves on fixed incomes, many living alone with little support. Yet even today many of our elderly continue to pay taxes for children of other families that they don't have and worry about the threats to their social security and Medicare even as health issues with their high costs become more and more urgent. For anyone under the age of 52 years old, a Social Security trustee report forecasts that by the time they retire, the fund will only be able to pay 76 percent of scheduled payments for retirement "Even before coronavirus, Social Security was staring at a shortfall," The Washington Post (May 25, 2020). As a former employee in the administrative offices of Shauna O'Neill, Salt Lake County Aging Services Director back in the early nineties, I witnessed first hand some of the pressing issues faced by the elderly. Senior citizens had to cope with crime in Central City, increasing number of housing repairs, lack of physical accessibility, complications with Social Security, and major changes in physical health, and even the death of a spouse. I understand the central role that County governments have in providing help to senior citizens. I am a firm believer in consolidating and coordinating services to the elderly and the need for tax reform to begin to accommodate senior citizens' special life circumstances.
If elected, I will work to:
ELIMINATE ALL STATE TAXES ON SOCIAL SECURITY BENEFITS
STUDY FREEZING PROPERTY TAXES OF SENIOR CITIZENS DIRECTED TOWARDS EDUCATION
Most importantly, the elderly deserve the full benefits of Social Security and Medicare that they paid for and as promised by the American government and the people of the United States for their well-being into their Golden Years. It is forecast that our Social Security and Medicare trust funds will run out in our own lifetimes. As your Utah State House Representative, I will fight for our seniors and continually demand from and shine a public spotlight on our Utah Congressional Delegation that they take action now and reveal to Utah voters their own specific plans or positions that they will push for in 2023 and beyond to save our medical care and social security into our old age or that they step aside. This issue can no longer be ignored because of politics or fear of voters.
Improving Safety Measures
Reducing Health Care Costs
July 2022 (new)
Our State government can undertake straight forward measures to reduce the physical dangers to senior citizens, reduce their anxiety, and reduce health care costs:
Having high blood pressure at 66 years old, I found it confusing as to what blood pressure readings are appropriate for my age. It appears that there are no easy to read blood pressure charts for senior citizens that correctly adjust for the appropriate blood pressure levels for elderly residents. It is easy to assume that too many seniors are overly worried and anxious over their blood pressure, perhaps even going to their doctor and taking up time and health care resources and in short unnecessarily increasing their own and our health care costs.
Develop, publish, and encourage other medical providers to provide easy to read blood pressure charts that reflect current medical advice which appears to be blood pressure readings over 140/90 for those 65 to 79 and over 160/90 for those over 80 years old. The ideal of a 120/80 blood pressure reading is a misleading number for senior citizens. [It is highly advised that you consult a doctor when it comes to making decisions regarding your own unique blood pressure levels].
Campaigning door-to-door to over 12,000 homes each year for the past four years, I have experienced the difficulties of climbing and descending stairs. A National Institute of Health study found that about a third of healthy seniors aged 65 and over will fall at least once each year and about half of seniors over the age of 85 will fall at least once each year. Up to half may fall multiple times. Falls on stairs are particularly dangerous because of height.
Encourage and provide state incentives to design new homes without stairs using stylish ramp designs instead. Everybody, even parents and children can benefit from ramps and avoiding climbing stairs to enter or exit a home while carrying grocery bags or sports equipment or even babes in arms. Fewer falls for everyone means fewer trips to the emergency room and lower medical costs. Design homes where senior citizens can live primarily on the first floor as they grow older while the second floor could be used for younger extended family members with even perhaps an outside access. This is our future. Ramps however would need to be carefully designed due to Utah's winter season which makes small inclines still dangerous to slippage.
Our Utah House District deserves a State Legislator who will be forward-thinking and smart in creating and developing solutions that are easy to understand and will directly address the problems and issues we are facing everyday.
Photograph taken March 14, 2022 in Clearfield City. This neigbhorhood was newly added to Utah House District 13 by the State Legislature last December.