Hawai‘i Herald Columnist
The election is over and a new governor and Legislature will take the oath of office in January.
Congratulations to the newly elected and mahalo to everyone who voted. Voting is important and küpuna who vote help make sure that elected officials pay attention to issues important to older Hawai‘i residents – like inflation, protecting Social Security, the high cost of prescription drugs, affordable housing, support for family caregivers and affordable options for long-term care. Politicians know, people 50 and older tend to turn out more for elections than younger people of voting age and that küpuna who vote decide close races.
At AARP Hawai‘i, we are committed to making sure that the people we elect keep their promises to küpuna. We will be working with the new Josh Green administration and the next Legislature to pass laws that support küpuna and family caregivers. During the campaign, AARP Hawai‘i sponsored gubernatorial debates and a video voters guide. We asked Green and Duke Aiona, his Republican opponent, about their plans to reduce prescription drug costs through state efforts, support family caregivers, create more affordable long-term care options, and to implement a new retirement savings program in Hawai‘i that will give all workers here access to an easy way to save for retirement through payroll deduction. Both candidates were supportive and gave detailed answers. You can hear what they said at states.aarp.org/hawaii/governor-video-voter-guide.
AARP Hawai‘i is also looking for volunteers to help us keep elected officials accountable and advocate for küpuna 50 and older. Become an AARP advocacy volunteer. We are holding AARP in Action workshops throughout the state next month where you can learn more about what we do. Register at aarp.org/hi or the AARP Hawai‘i Facebook page and scroll to click on the Upcoming Events tab.
Our advocacy volunteers learn about the issues, write and submit testimony, and write, email, call and visit with their elected representatives to let them know AARP’s position on important issues. Those who have the time will go to the Legislature and show up at committee hearings and rallies. No experience is necessary, just a desire and ability to help others. We want to learn what you think are important issues. We will teach you how the Legislature works and show you how we, and partner organizations, work to pass legislation.
Affordable housing, long-term care options and support for caregivers will likely be key priorities next year. In addition to state and county level advocacy, we’ll also be working on federal issues like protecting Social Security and Medicare and we will continue our fight to lower prescription drug prices.
In addition to advocacy volunteers, we also need communication volunteers who can help us write letters to the editor, talk about issues to reporters and who are willing to use social media to help us get information through your networks to elected officials.
Voting is an important right that enables us to have our voices heard. Advocacy at AARP Hawai‘i helps amplify the voice of küpuna and improves lives for people of all ages.
Craig Gima is communications director at AARP Hawai‘i. He is an award-winning multimedia communicator with more than 30 years of experience. A Honolulu native, Gima spent nearly 19 years at the Honolulu Star-Advertiser in a variety of reporting, editing and online roles before joining AARP in 2016. Gima graduated cum laude from the University of Southern California.