A recent Statesman guest opinion noted that May is National Older Americans Month and called for a renewed commitment to senior citizens. Sen. Frank Church would have endorsed this view.
Although better known for his work on foreign policy and the environment, Church also served as chairman of the Senate Special Committee on Aging, where he was a strong advocate for aging Americans.
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the passage of the Older Americans Act, one of the landmark legislative achievements for seniors sponsored by Sen. Church. Over the years, the Older Americans Act has enabled millions of senior citizens to live independently in their own homes through a wide range of services including home-maker, home-health, meals-on-wheels, and others. The act also established the Administration on Aging to oversee these programs and to serve as the federal focal point for older citizens.
While millions of seniors continue to benefit from the leadership of Frank Church ranging from cost-of-living adjustments in Social Security, to capital gains exclusions in the sale of principal residences, it’s time to renew America’s commitment to senior citizens.
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Garry V. Wenske, executive director, The Frank Church Institute, Boise State University