Topeka — A group of about 20 people representing agencies that support services for senior citizens in Douglas County made a trip to the Kansas Statehouse on Wednesday to lobby legislators.
Representatives of Project Acceptance, Douglas County Senior Services, the Advocacy Council on Aging, the American Association of Retired Persons, and the Kaw Valley Older Women's League attended hearings, met with local legislators and relived memories from bygone days.
The agencies came as part of Older Kansans Days, which will bring senior citizens and their advocates from different parts of the state to the Capitol for the next four Wednesdays. The visits are sponsored by the Kansas Association of Area Agencies on Aging.
HILDA ENOCH, president of the Older Women's League, said among the bills her group was on hand to support is one co-sponsored by Sen. Wint Winter Jr., R-Lawrence, calling for universal health care coverage in the state. She also said the League supports a family and medical leave bill, and a bill providing income tax credits for people who provide in-home care.
Alberta Vann, another senior citizen from Douglas County, said she was asking legislators to help older people maintain health care services.
"They've been cutting so much health care coverage for older people," Vann said.
ED DUTTON, a retired professor of social welfare at Kansas University, came to the Statehouse as a member of the Advocacy Council on Aging and the Grey Panthers.
Dutton said among legislation the Grey Panthers were supporting was a proposal that would provide regulations governing mobile home parks, which are not covered by the Kansas Landlord-Tenant Act.
Dutton pointed to water service problems experienced over the past two winters by people who live at Green Acres Mobile Home Park, 1045 E. 23rd. No state or local requirements were in place to force the mobile home park owners to provide the water.
Dutton said the problem at Green Acres may be being straightened out, but legislation still was needed.
"We need state legislation so it doesn't happen to other people in the state," he said.
NOT EVERYONE involved with Older Kansans Days made the trip to ask for specific legislation.
Maria Marelli and Peg Kahn, who live at Vermont Towers, 1101 Vt., came representing Douglas County Senior Services. They said they were enjoying both the architecture at the Statehouse and the hundreds of people in the building.
Morelli, who was born in Austria and grew up in Italy, said, "It's nice to see all kinds of people. I met soldiers from Leavenworth, and I spoke with one from Africa who spoke French. I speak French too."
And Kahn said she was reliving some old memories.
Kahn's adoptive father, John Harrison, was a state senator who represented Jewell and Mitchell counties. Sen. Harrison died while in office in 1929 when Kahn was 11 years old.
"I'm kind of reliving my story," Kahn said. "I'm trying to remember what an 11-year-old remembers.
"The keeper of the Senate was very nice. He showed us the wooden desks the senators sit in. I could almost see my father sitting at his senate desk.
"It's nice, but kind of sad too," she said of the visit.