Silver-Haired Legislature meets in Austin
Elected representatives from across Texas converged on Austin last week as the full 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 are newly elected representatives and novices in the field of legislative advocacy.
“We need to train all TSHL representatives on advocacy to support Texas seniors,” said 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 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.
“These have been really interesting classes, and I’ve learned exactly what I need to know,” said Larry Johnson, a new San Antonio representative from the Bexar Area Agency on Aging (AAA).
Johnson is one of two TSHL members who completed the course of study in braille.
Dr. Al Campbell from Bryan, representing the Brazos Valley AAA and a veteran member of the TSHL commented: “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.”
Ted Hubert and Jamie Larson represent Milam County and residents within the Central Texas Area Agency on Aging (AAA) District in the Texas Silver-Haired Legislature.
Hubert is chairman of the operations committee, which oversees all of the logistics of the TSHL. He also serves on the Utilities and Natural Resources Committee.
Larson is Vice Chairman of the Education Committee and is a member of the Communications Committee.
Within that committee he serves as coordinator of the Printing and Distribution Action Group and lead editor of the TSHL Directory.
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 non-partisan, over the age of 60 and are elected to two-year terms from 28 AAA districts across Texas.
The current 15th TSHL has 105 members.