CHICAGO, April 3, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- AARP Illinois congratulates Mayor-elect Lori Lightfoot on her historic win and looks forward to working with her on her pledge to improve affordability, public safety and the availability of essential services for older adults living in Chicago.
"In the weeks leading up to this election, AARP Illinois worked hard to make the concerns of those 50+ known to the mayoral candidates so they would no longer ignored," said AARP Chicago Director Mary Anderson.
"By sitting down with AARP Illinois for a one-on-one meeting, attending a Community Forum in partnership with the Chicago Sun-Times, and answering live questions during a Telephone Town Hall, Lightfoot has beyond demonstrated a willingness to address the needs of older adults – and we are excited to partner with her."
During a sit-down with AARP Illinois directors in Chicago on Feb. 3, Lightfoot talked about her keen understanding of the struggles facing older adults and their families. She said she wanted to make certain resources and services are available to those 50+ and their families.
Lightfoot said these services are critical in order to "add to the quality of parents' lives (and) make sure we are respecting their independence."
When asked about the importance of a city department dedicated to serving those 50+, Lightfoot said it was necessary to have leadership overseeing these issues from City Hall.
"What I know is that if there's not someone that's running point on these issues, it doesn't get done. If there isn't staff and budget behind it, it doesn't get done," Lightfoot said.
And Lightfoot said she planned to work with AARP Illinois, which represents 250,000 members in Chicago and 1.7 million across the state, to come up with real solutions for the struggles faced by those 50+.
"I would hope frankly that if I'm fortunate enough to win, that (AARP Illinois) will play a heavy role in our transition. And you will be giving us guidance. Your network and people and ideas (are needed) to have real community conversations to start the process and also throughout the four year term," Lightfoot said.
Older adults consistently show up at the polls in higher numbers than other age groups, and AARP worked diligently during this Chicago Mayoral to emphasize this to the candidates.
In February, AARP Chicago sat down with 8 of the 14 mayoral candidates to highlight the results of a survey AARP commissioned to highlight the issues important to older voters.
Eighty-nine percent of survey respondents said they planned to vote in the mayoral election. This prediction was demonstrated during both the February election and on Tuesday, when 52 and 54 percent, respectively, of the voters were 55 and older.
"On Tuesday, Mayor-elect Lightfoot and Chicago got the message that older adults cannot be ignored loud and clear when people 55+ decided who would be our city's next leader," said Bob Gallo, AARP Illinois' state director. "AARP Illinois looks forward to working with the new leadership to implement policies and plans that benefit older adults and their families throughout the city"
AARP is the nation's largest nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to empowering Americans 50 and older to choose how they live as they age. With nearly 38 million members and offices in every state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, AARP works to strengthen communities.
SOURCE AARP Illinois