Sept. 21, 2011
Officials must cut through red tape to help vulnerable seniors, he says
JOPLIN – Lt. Governor Peter Kinder today heard from clients and staff at the Central Area Agency on Aging Senior Center in Joplin about their ongoing needs as the region continues to recover from a devastating tornado in May.
As the official Senior Advocate for the State of Missouri, Lt. Governor Kinder also testified last month before the Senate Interim Committee on Natural Disaster Recovery about the unique needs seniors faced in the wake of the disaster.
On Wednesday, Lt. Governor Kinder said state government must reduce red tape in the wake of natural disasters so seniors and their caretakers can quickly and easily get the help and care they need.
“It’s important that our seniors aren’t forced to navigate a lot of unnecessary bureaucratic rules to get the crucial care they need,” he said.
The May 22 tornado damaged the Joplin Senior Center, which was able to reopen last month.
Lt. Governor Kinder said Wednesday the facility’s return is critical to ensure seniors not only have a place to go for a nutritious meal each day, but that they have a comfortable place of companionship.
He also urged Gov. Jay Nixon to release state funding for meals at the center and for home-bound seniors. Nixon withheld $940,000 from the state budget for the program. After pressure from Lt. Governor Kinder and other senior service agencies, Nixon last month released half the funds.
“The full amount must be restored for this vital program, and I will continue to fight to see that it is restored,” Lt. Governor Kinder said.
Lt. Governor Kinder also discussed his constitutional challenge to the federal healthcare law and how the law’s mandates could hurt Missouri’s seniors. He said the law “unfairly targets many in the senior population, and as Missouri’s official Senior Advocate, I will continue to fight for our seniors to make sure your constitutional rights are protected.”