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2013-11-07

Texas Silver-Haired Legislature trains

Special to the Courier

Sixty-nine elected representatives from across Texas converged on Austin in late October as the membership of the 15th Texas Silver-Haired Legislature (TSHL) convened in their three-day fall general session. The primary focus was skills training, as one-third of the TSHL were newly elected representatives and novices in the field of legislative advocacy.
"We need to train all TSHL reps on advocacy to support Texas seniors," said the Honorable Pat J. Porter, Speaker of the 15th TSHL. "We owe it to seniors to have representatives who can voice their needs effectively. So, we work our folks hard."
Multiple sub-groups met to teach TSHL committee procedures, resolution writing and formatting, organizational debate, witness testimony, and key legislative processes, among others. Representatives had little time for themselves as they were tasked to write, format, and carry their resolutions through the TSHL assessment process, emerging at the end with solid, well-crafted resolutions ready for legislative consideration.
"Really interesting, and I've learned a lot," said Larry Johnson, a new San Antonio representative from the Bexar Area Agency on Aging (AAA).
Dr. Al Campbell from Bryan, representing the Brazos Valley AAA and a veteran member of the TSHL added: "We had some great ideas come from our committees this year. I'm looking forward to the time between now and the next Legislative session when we can work these into resolutions and find House and Senate sponsors."
The TSHL was created with the signature of Governor Mark White on Senate Concurrent Resolution 37 in 1985. The first TSHL Legislature convened the following year, and has continued to represent seniors across Texas through active advocacy for 27 years. Representatives are nonpartisan, over the age of 60, and are elected to two-year terms from 28 districts across Texas. The current 15th TSHL has 105 members.
For more information, Contact: Larry Johnson at Email: larjo1@prodigy.net.