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Working for Older South Dakotans in Washington

May 23, 2014

WASHINGTON – May is Older Americans Month, and as part of that, members and staff from AARP South Dakota spent time in the capital, talking to the state's congressional delegation about issues important to senior citizens.

Dennis Eisnach, AARP's volunteer president in South Dakota, says the group highlighted the value of the Older Americans Act, which he says brought about $6.6 million to the state, last year alone, for a variety of programs.

"The things that the state does as far as safe streets and those kinds of things, it's a broad spectrum of things, the money that it covers,” he says. “So, we are looking for re-authorization of that.

“For the most part, it's a bipartisan issue, so we've had pretty good agreement from our congressional delegation, that they think this should be done."

AARP has about 105,000 members in South Dakota.

Eisnach says another issue AARP is talking about is the Protecting Older Workers Against Discrimination Act.

As more older workers are faced with returning to, or staying in, jobs, he says they are not always being treated fairly.

"We have found that age discrimination is not treated the same way as it is for national origin, or gender or religion and those kinds of things,” he says. “That there is not as high a standard, as far as preventing discrimination."

Despite positive meetings in Washington, Eisnach says AARP doesn’t expect to see much action on either of these issues before the November election.

Jerry Oster, Public News Service - SD