Maine Lawmakers United in Dems’ Effort to Help Seniors
Maine lawmakers are united behind efforts to help seniors age in their homes and communities, according Speaker of the Maine House Mark Eves, Democrat of North Berwick.
Eves held meetings today in Washington with Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King and Reps. Mike Michaud and Chellie Pingree, who expressed support for his effort to help Maine seniors age in place and live independently longer.
“Maine seniors have strong advocates in Congress,” said Eves. “Together, we can transform how seniors age in our state and make Maine a national leader on aging.”
Maine is the oldest state in the nation. One in four Mainers will be over the age of 65 by 2030, according to U.S. census projections.
During the meetings, Eves briefed the state’s four Congressional members on his “KeepME Home” plan, which would create 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 seniors.
“Speaker Eves is right to shine a spotlight on the need to create a supportive infrastructure for our seniors. Investing in our seniors is the right thing to do. And his plan also offers the potential for positive economic growth in our state as we make good on our promise to seniors,” said Congressman Mike Michaud, who has been working to expand health care benefits for low income seniors as a founding member of the State Medicaid Expansion Caucus.
Sens. Collins and King both discussed their co-sponsorship of a measure, S.1442, to increase affordable housing tax credits for low income seniors.
Rep. Chelle Pingree, who has advocated for housing assistance and innovative new transportation programs for seniors, also said Maine has an opportunity to lead on aging issues.
“The ideas I heard today really can make Maine a leader in helping seniors stay in their homes and communities,” said Pingree. “I know all of us in the Congressional delegation want to find ways to support these proposals from a federal perspective, but I’m also excited about sharing the ideas with my colleagues from around the country. Although Maine has one of the oldest populations in the country, finding ways to help seniors stay in their homes is a challenge in every community across the country.”
State experts on aging in Maine also joined Eves, including Jess Maurer from the Maine Council on Aging, Jeff Hecker from the University of Maine at Orono, and Steve Pound from Cianbro, who heads up workforce development efforts for the company.
The KeepME Home plan is part of a culmination of nearly a year of work collaborating with aging experts, caregivers, municipal, and business leaders. The proposals will serve as key pieces of a larger package of legislation on aging in the 127th Legislature, which convenes in December.