Editor: Shannon Cottongame
August 25, 2021
Barbara Aydlett of Aquilla was sworn in as a member of the 19th Texas Silver-Haired Legislature (TSHL) at its orientation session held July 18-22 in Pflugerville. Sixty-nine delegates from 24 Area Agency on Aging regions in Texas were sworn in for a two-year term by the Honorable Bryan Hughes, member of the Texas Senate from District 1.
Aydlett represents the Heart of Texas Area Agency on Aging Region and will be serving her sixth term with TSHL. She was elected to serve a second term as Deputy Speaker Pro Tem. Others representing the Heart of Texas AAA Region include Linda Timmerman, David Timmerman from Richland-Chambers Lake and Danny Volcik from Waco.
The orientation session was the first of three TSHL sessions over the next biennium. The delegates will research senior issues in Texas, prepare resolutions for proposed legislation, pass them through committee and vote on them in full chamber at the TSHL Legislative Session to be held in the spring of 2022. Approved resolutions will be included in a TSHL Legislative Report that will be delivered to all legislators, as well as to the governor and lieutenant governor, in advance of the 2023 state session.
The Honorable Rhonda M. Rogers was re-elected speaker for the 2021-2023 legislative term. Rogers represents the Ark-Tex District Area on Aging (AAA) and lives in Paris, Texas. She has served on TSHL since 2015 and is a retired military officer. She has also taught at the high school, junior college and university levels.
Re-elected to serve on the TSHL Executive Committee with Rogers are Speaker Pro Tem Dr. Sharron (Sherry) Hubbard, representative of the Concho Valley District; Deputy Speaker Pro Tem Adylett from the Heart of Texas District; Comptroller Wayne Merrill of the Concho Valley District; and Secretary Bobette Doerrie representing the Panhandle District.
Longtime member Pat Porter, representing the Permian Basin, was named Speaker Emeritus during the closing session. Rogers praised Porter for her dedication, commitment and hard work for the senior population of Texas. “The Honorable Pat Porter has served in virtually every office in the Texas Silver-Haired Legislature. Her leadership has resulted in countless bills that have been passed into law and I know that she will continue to serve our senior citizens and this great State as Speaker Emeritus,” she said.
The Texas Silver-Haired Legislature is a non-partisan body created by the 69th Texas Legislature with the adoption of SCR 37, on April 3, 1985. Since its inception, some 700 seniors have been elected to serve in TSHL. The vision of TSHL is that “the applied wisdom, energy, and experience of aging will improve the lives of all Texans through education, knowledge, and involvement in legislation and governmental affairs.”
Among the issues that the advocacy group recommended and supported during the 87th session of the Texas Legislature was legislation that increased the financial strength of the Teacher Retirement System and the State Employees Retirement System pension plans, increased the personal needs allowance to $60 for Medicaid nursing home residents, provided for the expansion of broadband services in rural areas, expanded the research into and medical use of low-THC cannabis products, and enhanced criminal degree and fines for those who perpetrate Internet fraud against seniors.