After reviewing about 20 bills that they will track in the Colorado Legislature this session, a group of AARP Colorado advocacy volunteers walked to the Capitol and registered to be lobbyists this week.
Each year, AARP Colorado volunteers must sign up to advocate on behalf of seniors at the Colorado Legislature. This year about 10 volunteers registered. A handful of AARP’s volunteers, including A.W. Schnellbacher and Jean Nofles are long-time advocates in the halls of the Capitol and were there to renew their registration for another legislative season. Others like David Goldberg and Catherine Fogg filled out paperwork before receiving their first lobbyist cards.
“This is very interesting,” said Fogg, as she took in the brass and marble of the massive old statehouse. “It’s very exciting. We will be doing a lot of walking around here in the halls of the Capitol.”
AARP Colorado Associate State Director for Advocacy Kelli Fritts said the state office is fortunate to have such dedicated, hard-working and intelligent advocates.
“We have the best volunteers in the state,” she said, after taking a small group of volunteers on a tour of the Capitol. “We are very fortunate.”
The volunteers also are very effective. Last year, AARP Colorado volunteers stopped budget cuts to the Older Coloradan’s Act, which kept more than $10 million flowing for senior services in their communities. AARP advocates also helped stop legislation that would have allowed communications giants like Qwest have unbridled authority to raise fees and little-to-no corporate oversight.
The bills this year’s AARP Colorado advocates will monitor include issues focusing on utilities, fraud and identity theft, budget cuts, poverty and economic stability, hospital fees and medical assistance, just to name a few.
This year’s advocacy volunteers are: Schnellbacher, Nofles, Goldberg and Fogg, along with Greg Glischinski, Steve Merrill, Nedra San Fillipo, Dan Chapman, Dennis Valentine and Kathleen Flynn.
Anyone interested in volunteering for AARP Colorado, should call 1-866-554-5376.