JERSEY CITY—Mayor Glenn D. Cunningham hosted 220 of Jersey City and Bayonne’s senior residents today during the first Seniors’ Issues Conference at St. Peter’s College, where daylong fact gathering discussions revealed what seniors consider their top concerns for a better quality of life.
The Pavonia Room was packed for the five-hour conference where seniors participated in an open forum to address a number of issues they felt affected their dailies lives. Experts from municipal government and from statewide senior organizations also participate in the fact-finding forum.
“The seniors were the workhorses today,” Cunningham said. “They came to the conference and hashed out and prioritized the things they believe need to be addressed. They’ve spoken, now, I have my marching orders.”
Cunningham, who guaranteed the crowd that he will strenuously push his “senior agenda” in Trenton after taking office next week as State senator of the 31st District, called for the conference two months ago to better define his senior initiative for the entire district. For Jersey City Cunningham instituted an office of Senior Affairs, which is managed by Larry Eccleston, the moderator of the forum.
In the past few weeks the Senior Affairs Office has polled seniors throughout the district to determine what topics they view as a priority for Cunningham and their elected officials to focus upon.
“This was an extraordinary event,” said Marilyn Askin, president of the New Jersey AARP. “The seniors were very issue oriented and issue conscious. The seniors are most concerned about their health care and it’s great that there is a mayor in Jersey City who is committed to getting the word out to people.”
The participants in the conference rated the PAAD (prescription drugs) as the number one issue of concern. Other issues brought to the forefront were the future of Medicare, senior transportation to medical facilities, property taxes and fraud crimes against seniors.
“I think the conference went very well and there was a lot of good information given out,” said Kathleen Lyons, a lifelong resident of Jersey City. “My main concern is the property taxes. It sounds like the people in power are willing to work on these issues.”
Newly elected assemblymen Anthony Chiappone and Louis Manzo also addressed the audience of participants, pledging to keep senior concerns on the forefront of their respective legislative agendas.///