PAFC Senior Candidates Forum October 28 2014
One week before the November elections, at a Forum sponsored by the Partnership for Age-Friendly Communities in Larimer County, candidates for Larimer County Commissioner and for State Representative from Districts 52 and 53 answered questions on issues important to seniors at the Ft. Collins Senior Center. Candidates Lew Gaiter III, Kathy Gilliland, and Eric Sutherland for County Commissioner; Joann Ginal and Donna Walter for State Representative from District 52 and Jeni Arndt and Tim Bessler from District 53 spent last Tuesday evening with about 100 seniors responding to randomly chosen questions on subjects such as affordable senior housing, health care access, long term services and support, legislative initiatives relating to seniors and awareness about culture of aging issues.
The questions were drawn randomly by host Dr. Martin Carcasson from a list shared with candidates ahead of time. An example for the State Representative candidates: “Some have suggested easing local housing regulations so that unrelated seniors could share a home or an apartment for affordability. What are your thoughts about that proposal?” County Commissioner candidates answered questions such as, “What can be done to ensure access to County services for rural seniors?”
After each candidate had answered two questions, informal conversations were encouraged at round tables shared among candidates and seniors during a light supper donated by Chick fil-A. Seniors expanded their concerns in these exchanges to questions about education for their grandchildren, for example. Conversations were sweetened by plates full of cookies home baked by Elaine Boni.
Joann Ginal visits with local senior as Martin Carcasson goes over schedule with Commissioner Lew Gaiter.
Following supper, the candidates gathered for another round of questions including a final opportunity to address the questions they hadn’t drawn but wish they’d been asked.
The purpose of the Forum was twofold: first, to educate the voting public about candidates’ positions on senior issues and, equally important, to educate candidates about senior concerns and the significance of the population affected by them.
This Candidates Forum event was a project of a Self Directed Volunteer Team chaired by Myles Crane for the Partnership for Age-Friendly Communities in Larimer County. The team volunteers – Myles and Carole Crane, Elaine Boni, Jeff Arduino, Lynda Meyer and Rhonda Racicot -- planned and organized the event in just 9 ½ weeks.
Philip Maior, FCPAN, professionally videoed the Forum. Emily Arduino’s graphics design talent developed the marketing and program materials. Several students from The Center for Public Deliberation at Colorado State University provided intergenerational process support.
Larimer County’s Office on Aging, the Foundation on Aging and the Center for Public Deliberation provided funding, and Myles Crane reports that the SDVT total costs came in at 40% under budget.
The Fort Collins Senior Center provided a superb venue with excellent support by that facility’s management and staff.