May was National Older Americans Month. As the official state advocate for the senior population, how did you celebrate this month?
As the official state advocate for seniors, I am privileged to honor Missouri seniors during National Older Americans Month. In 2005, I created the Senior Service Award to honor and recognize outstanding senior volunteers. The event has grown, and each year, I invite the recipients and those who nominated them to a ceremony that takes place in the Capitol during the month of May. It is a great way to show that Missouri appreciates its outstanding older Missourians. I have spent much of May speaking to senior groups about the recent health care bill and how the new law will affect each and every one of them.
What issues are most important to Missouri seniors, and how are you trying to address their needs?
There are many issues that are important to Missouri seniors, but one of the most important is the rising costs of prescription drugs. My concern over this led to the creation of the MoRx Plan, which was created in 2006. MoRx offsets the cost of prescription drugs and coordinates benefits with Medicare's Part D Prescription Drug Program. Seniors can find out more about this plan by calling 1-800-375-1406 or by visiting www.morx.mo.gov.
How do you decide on your areas of focus?
Seniors are constantly coming to me with issues that concern them, and I take their concerns into account when I decide what areas to focus on. It is very important to me that they have a strong advocate in state government.
What do you think the senior population has to offer younger generations?
Missouri's senior population has so much wisdom to offer younger generations. It's important to remind younger generations that they can make a difference in the state through service to their communities and neighbors. Missouri's seniors have led by example and now younger generations are picking up the baton.
What's one thing Missouri's seniors should know about you?
Seniors should know that as their official senior advocate, I will work tirelessly to make their voices heard in Jefferson City. My office is happy to assist Missouri's seniors on any issue in which they need assistance. My toll-free line is 800-699-2377. I have also made a number of resources available on my website at www.ltgov.mo.gov.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
I spend much of my time traveling to each corner of our beautiful state and enjoy all that Missouri has to offer. In my spare time I am an avid reader. I also stay active by exercising on an elliptical and attending various races for charity -- most recently the 2010 Komen Race for the Cure in St. Louis. I also enjoy cheering the Cardinals on to victory.