Silver-Haired Legislature will press for issues vital for senior citizens
Many Kansas seniors know that municipal and school board elections are not the only important races that will be decided this spring. They know they will have their own election to send representatives to Topeka to lobby state legislators about concerns they face.
Seniors from across the state are preparing themselves for the upcoming filing deadline for the Kansas Silver-Haired Legislature. All interested Kansas who are over the age of 60 and are registered voters have until Feb. 9 to file for the March election.
The Silver-Haired Legislature is a unicameral body composed of 125 seniors who are interested in becoming a part of the political process and advancing the interests of their fellow seniors.
"It is a good way for seniors to get involved," said Janice Williams, a program specialist with the Wyandotte/Leavenworth Area Agency on Aging and a liaison to Silver-Haired Legislature. "The seniors talk about things in the community that affect them and then they go to Topeka to pass bills."
Williams said there are seven total spots for the Wyandotte and Leavenworth County area. On March 16, seniors will elect six representatives from Wyandotte County and one from Leavenworth County.
However, before that takes place, interested candidates must register in one of two ways. Any registered voter 60 or older, regardless if they have been involved in politics before, may register for a two-year term by completing an intent form and returning the provided petition with the signatures of 50 seniors. An interested candidate also has the option of paying a $15 filing fee in lieu of completing the petition. The necessary forms may be picked up and delivered to the local area on aging, 9400 State Avenue, Room 111, Kansas City, Kan.
Once the necessary forms are filled out, candidates' names will be placed on the ballots seniors will cast in March at two area locations the agency will announce after the filing deadline passes. Candidates who are elected will then be able to help carry out the senior legislature's three-pronged goal. The legislature's mission is to educate participants about the political process, inform the public and state legislature about concerns seniors have and involve all seniors by giving them a voice.
The Wyandotte/Leavenworth Area Agency on Aging will notify those who register for office of their certification as a candidate by Feb. 16
For more information about the program or to request the filing forms, call Williams at (913) 573-8544.