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Senior Group Gets New Leadership

January 6, 2012

PIERRE, S. D. – The new year brings a leadership change to AARP-South Dakota. Pat Gross completed his six-year term as the organization's volunteer president, and Dennis Eisnach will take his spot.

Eisnach previously served on the AARP national and state councils, is a former superintendent of the Highway Patrol, mayor of Pierre, and member of the state Public Utilities Commission. He says he wants to use his skills for the benefit of older Americans.

"It's a big enough organization – both at the state level and the national level – that your voice can heard through advocacy. You know, we have about 37 million members nationally, and about 100,000 here in South Dakota."

Eisnach says he wants to help seniors with their concerns about Social Security, Medicare and health care, but also sees a need to improve their transportation options.

"We have a lot of older folks now who would like to live in place, and they live in the small, rural communities in South Dakota. And a real barrier to them being able to live in place is transportation issues."

He says he has discovered programs that could help older South Dakotans get from place to place, if the efforts were better coordinated.

"There are a lot of federal programs that have been in place for years that address this, whether it's the Veterans Administration or Social Services, or the federal Department of Transportation. There are just a variety of federal agencies that provide transportation – but the frustrating part of it is, they haven't talked to each other."

He says hopes to remedy that, and also plans to be active in meeting as many AARP-South Dakota members as possible over the next few years.

Jerry Oster, Public News Service - SD