Senior Citizen's Guide digital books
Senior Citizen's Guide

Get the Facts and Vote!

Seniors, now is not the time to drop out. Okay, we've all been there, done that. Let the new "kids" on the block get involved. We've earned some peace, some relaxation, and all those "benefits" the state lottery provides. Right?

Well maybe, maybe not.

As you undoubtedly know, exercise for the body keep us healthy longer. It's in all the books, magazine articles, newspapers and the many TV shows which focus on seniors. In the same way, the brain needs exercise. As the saying goes, if you don't use it, you lose it.

Now is the time to utilize all the ideas and impressions you've accumulated through the years. Now is when you have the time to devote to volunteer activities (which depend more and more on seniors) and to express yourself, both physically and mentally. So, how do you go about it?

First of all, are you registered to vote? And, more importantly, do you vote? It's a fact that of all categories of voters, seniors vote most regularly. That's a fact, but it's up to you to make it true. Politicians pay attention mostly to voters and, especially, those from their district.

With all the different districts one lives in now, it is necessary to keep on hand exactly which district involves which elected official. Write it down. I can't keep them straight, so I don't expect you to. And, when you write or phone an official, remind them that you're in their district and that you vote.

The League of Women Voters (412-621-4284) has free "Facts for Citizens" guides which list all our elected officials. Unfortunately, the 1999 "Facts" doesn't include the new County Council members or County Executive. You'll make that decision this May. You can phone LWV for names of your representatives if you're uncertain, whether on the school board, in the State, or at the Federal level. And after May, for Allegheny County.

As part of your involvement in political issues, it is important to keep up your reading through newspapers, magazines, books, all available in local libraries or through "talking books." Get all the information on the issues that interest you. Try to get the facts, not rumors or allegations. Then, take action. By this, I mean write or call whichever official makes the decision on your particular issue. Or - and this might take a bit of gumption - attend a public meeting and speak your mind.

It is easier to write out or outline your main points so you don't stray from the issue or forget an important point. Keep in mind the acronym, "KISS" (contact me if you don't know what this means).

It's also best to select a few issues which really affect your such as health research or treatment, school activities that affect your grandchildren, financial issues that affect your quality of life, your retirement income, your home, etc. Stick to one issue at a time. Elected officials do not seem able to attend to more than one issue at a time from a constituent (the voter). So, make it easy and work on one issue at a time. I can almost "guarantee" a response, possibly even one to your liking. If not, you know where the polling place is and what to do at the next election. Do it!

One more important point: remember the manners you were taught. Write a "thank you" when you receive a favorable vote or response. Everyone responds well to thank you's - even today.

And "thank you" for getting involved.

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