Senate Democrats

Reid Calls for Innovative Programs to Help Nevada Seniors

Keynote Speech at 2005 Nevada Conferences on Aging Stresses Retirement Security

Washington, D.C. – Nevada Senator Harry Reid promised to protect social security and help find innovative ways to develop senior housing in his keynote address to the 2005 Nevada Conferences on Aging. The two conferences, in Las Vegas and Reno, will help set the agenda for December’s White House Conference on Aging – a once a decade event designed to illuminate the needs of America’s seniors.

“People today say they’re worried about retirement security, but it’s certainly not a new problem,” said Reid. “When I was growing up, my dad was a hard-rock miner in Searchlight, Nevada. My mom took in wash. The thought of them saving any money was unrealistic; they needed every dollar just to live. When my dad died, my mom fortunately had social security – but not much else. We need to help today’s seniors do better. We need to make sure they have social security, we need to protect their pensions, and we need to make it easier for them to save.”

The White House Conference on Aging is designed to help lawmakers understand the specific problems that senior citizens face in America. This year’s conference will be the last before the nation’s 78 million baby boomers begin reaching retirement age. The sheer number of boomers, who were born between 1946 and 1964, will strain social resources now in place for seniors. In Nevada alone, the Census Bureau expects the senior population to triple by 2030.

“We need innovative ideas if we’re going to be able to provide for the needs of seniors in the future,” said Reid. “We need to develop projects like the Silver Sky Assisted Living Center in Las Vegas, which I was proud to help get funding for. It’s a unique public/private partnership, and a great example of how we can meet the affordable housing and long-term care needs of seniors. The Nevada Conferences on Aging is a great forum to develop these kinds of ideas, and I look forward to working with you to implement them.”

Participants in the Nevada Conferences on Aging will take part in “solutions forums” for aging issues of today and tomorrow. Nevada delegates will then bring those ideas to the White House Conference on Aging in Washington, D.C. in December. The White House and Congress will be hear ideas from state conferences around the country, and will be able to start developing new programs to help seniors.

One of the Commissioners at the national conference will actually be a Nevadan. Reid appointed Tom Gallagher to the post. In addition, Governor Kenny Guinn and the five members of the Nevada Congressional delegation named eight people to represent the state as delegates. The Nevada delegation members are listed below:


Gubernatorial delegates: Governor Kenny Guinn

Janice Ayres, Carson City
Socorro Castro, Las Vegas
Mary Liveratti, Carson City

Congressional delegates:

Senator Harry Reid – Lawrence Weiss, Reno
Senator John Ensign – Vivenne Kerns, Las Vegas
Rep. Shelley Berkley – Mary Ann Salmon, Las Vegas
Rep. Jim Gibbons – Marietta Bobba, Reno
Rep. Jon Porter – Herb Perry, Las Vegas