AARP of Wyoming Talks About Important Issues For Older Voters
As Wyoming's Aug 16 primary approaches, the American Association of Retired Persons in the state talked about what issues older Wyomingites are facing and how they try to address them.
Tom Lacock, AARP Wyoming’s Associate State Director of Communications, said that there are four main issues that they prioritize, property taxes, help for caregivers, scam protection, and broadband access.
When it comes to scams, Lacock said they've had a lot of legislators reach out to them to ask how they can help their constituents who've been scammed.
"Even some of our legislator friends who we may not share a lot in common policy-wise, they're the first to reach out to us and said 'I know someone who's recently been scammed, they recently lost this much money on a,' and it seems to be a gift card scam almost every time, 'what can we tell them to do next,'" Lacock said. "And at that point, we've been able to move them to the fraud watch network, which has some volunteers that are trained in this particular scam prevention, and they can make those calls...We send out those four scam alerts every month to the state legislators and I know a number of them pass them out to their constituents from there, just because they understand the value of keeping people safe ahead of time as opposed to trying to pick up the pieces after someone's been scammed."
For property taxes, Lacock said that he appreciated what the legislature did at the most recent session by allowing people to request a refund on their property tax.
"We appreciated very much what the legislature did in this last year, and that is funding an existing program that didn't have any money in it for probably the last five or seven years, the public property tax refund bill. The cool thing about that particular program is that it's very targeted. So it's a bill that if you needed a property tax refund, or wanted to request it, it was means tested so you needed to prove that you needed the money or that you were a good target for the money. Just because you're 65 and over doesn't mean that you automatically need a property tax break, and this money should go to people that really need the money specifically. So the legislature did put $3 million aside to run that program for the next two years."
Lacock said that something like Medicaid expansion, in which he said 30% goes to people 50 to 64 for those eligible under expansion, isn't as high up their list of priorities.
"That's something that we haven't made a part of this particular voter engagement piece, but it is something we've supported in the past...At present, it isn't one of our top four priorities for this election season," Lacock said. "At some point, you can only have so many priorities."
Older people are the group most likely to vote, with 85% of those aged 70 to 79 voting in the last 2020 election, followed by those aged 60 to 69 at 78%, while only 42% of those aged 20 to 29 voted in the last election.
Lacock urges people who are confused about the voting process to visit AARP's website for more information.