By Peter Zuyus
Over the next several months, I will be encouraging senior citizens of the Kenai Peninsula Borough to exercise their right to vote — and vote in larger numbers than ever.
The upcoming October borough election is the most important election for seniors in many years. Over the past 10 years, a number of politicians have attempted to lay blame for budgets shortfalls on Senior benefits and programs. Respect for seniors has taken a back seat to the “tax seniors” politicians, many who believe seniors have too much.
In 2007, the Unlimited Senior property exemption was taken away and replaced with a $300,000 exemption; 2014 Borough politicians attempted to take away the senior residential exemption, and recently, the City of Homer refused a request from the Homer Seniors Center for assistance with their conversion to natural gas. All of this done while lulling seniors into complacency with distorted words and verbal trickery. Seniors are their scapegoat.
This October, three Assembly seats and the mayor’s office are on the ballot. If the groups see the senior benefits as a place to cut back spending, it will have a long-term negative impact on seniors, senior centers and senior outreach organizations. There are politicians who believe seniors receive too much now.
All seniors must listen to the candidates, question the candidate position on senior benefits and demand a commitment to support senior programs and issues. I am not endorsing any particular candidate, but saying, ask the direct questions of all candidates, select your candidate of choice and vote. If seniors vote in numbers, we can protect our benefits and programs from being gutted by issue-oriented politicians.
I ask you, senior citizen program administrators, to join me in encouraging seniors to get informed, listen to the candidates and vote.
How can you help?
Encourage every senior to register to vote, and encourage every senior to request an absentee ballot.
Why? They can fill out an absentee ballot and keep it handy. If they are not feeling well, have transportation problems, weather issues etc- they can just mail in their vote. The option to go to the polling place is always available.
Encourage every senior to listen to and question candidates. Demand a commitment to support senior benefits and programs. Listen carefully to their answer.
Then: Vote for their candidate of choice.
Oct. 7 is a very important election day for senior citizens. Benefits are easy to lose, almost impossible to restore. Please contact me with any questions. There will be additional letters regarding seniors and reminders to vote.
Thank you for your time and concern for our Senior Citizens and their programs,
Peter Zuyus is a Homer-area resident and former telecommunications executive.
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