From Missouri Digital News: https://mdn.org
Voters Will Decide On Aging Department
October 15, 1996
By: Tracy Sadeghian
State Capital Bureau
An issue affecting almost 900-thousand Missourians will be on the ballot November 5th.
If approved by voters, constitutional amendment number five would create a separate State Department of Aging.
Senior citizens now access services through the Aging Division -- one of nine divisions under the Department of Social Services.
But the ballot proposal would eliminate this division and replace it with a new department.
Most seniors are backing the measure, but some elderly and politicians oppose it, claiming a new department will just create more bureaucracy.
K-B-I-A's Tracy Sadeghian has the story.
The new Aging Department would offer the same services as the current Aging Division.
But advocates say elevating senior-related services to a department level will make it easier for clients to access all services by providing "one-stop-shopping".
Seniors say an Aging Department will give them a stronger presence in state government because it would be a cabinet-level department, giving them a voice at the governor's table.
Marilyn Dreyer is a fourth-grade teacher from Warrenton. She's one of the senior citizens supporting the measure.
But not all elderly agree with Dreyer, including one senior citizen, who asked that her name not be used.
Politicians are also at odds over the issue.
Lieutenant Governor Roger Wilson spear headed the efforts within state government to create an Aging Department.
But Wilson's idea ran into opposition during the last legislative session.
Springfield Senator Roseann Bentley says she's an advocate for senior citizens. She says creating a new department is not the answer.
In response to arguments raised by Bentley and others, Wislon says there are safeguards built into the proposed legislation to discourage the department's bureaucratic growth.
Senator Bentley disagrees.
Missourians will settle the issue when they head to the polls November 5th. For K-B-I-A Radio's Capital Edition, I'm Tracy Sadeghian.