AUGUSTA – Today, the Maine Council on Aging named Senate President Troy Jackson, D-Allagash, as the recipient of the 2022 Legislator of the Year Award. The award recognizes his longstanding commitment to improving the health, safety and economic security of older Mainers. President Jackson will be honored along with four other award recipients at the Council’s annual Wisdom Summit on Sep. 21.
“Older Mainers continue to play a critical role in our communities well into their retirement years. Supporting policies that make it easier for older folks to remain in their homes, get the care they need and contribute to the state benefits everyone. It’s also just the right thing to do,” said President Jackson. “It’s why I’m truly honored to be named the Maine Council on Aging’s 2022 Legislator of the Year for work that I feel so strongly about. I’m grateful for this recognition but I know we still have more work to do and I am committed to making it happen.”
This year, President Jackson successfully led the charge to prevent the Maine Veterans’ Homes in Caribou and Machias from closing while continuing to invest in nursing homes, residential care facilities and other long-term care providers. At the same time, he voted to boost in-home and community support services for older Mainers in need of daily assistance and supported funding for Meals on Wheels. He also helped secure tax breaks for retired Mainers – voting to increase the annual income tax pension deduction by $15,000.
“The Maine Council on Aging is pleased to recognize President Jackson for his collaborative and sustained leadership role in addressing Maine’s severe and persistent direct care workforce shortage,” said Jessica Maurer, Executive Director at the Maine Council on Aging. “In 2017 he sought the creation of the Commission to Study Maine’s Long Term Care Workforce Issues, and has since worked tirelessly to ensure funding was dedicated to implementing the Commission recommendations. He has also been a strong advocate on other key issues, including efforts to improve affordable housing options for older Mainers and funding for Meals on Wheels.”
The Legislator of the Year Award is awarded to a state lawmaker who has been a consistent leader on legislative initiatives that improve the health, safety and economic security of older Mainers. This includes efforts to increase and improve access to quality aging services.
Since returning to the Senate in 2017, President Jackson has proven to be a fierce advocate for older Mainers. In 2021, President Jackson focused his efforts on addressing long-term care workforce issues, property tax relief and the high cost of prescription medication. Lawmakers strengthened the Homestead Exemption Program, increased the Property Tax Fairness Credit and revived the Property Tax Deferral Program. The Legislature also put federal funds to work by launching a campaign to promote direct care work and attract people to the profession, and supporting training and stackable credentials for health care workers. Both of these measures were recommendations from the Legislatures’ bipartisan Long Term Care Work Force Commission. President Jackson also sponsored legislation to rein in the high cost of prescription drugs and improve access to affordable health care.
The Maine Council on Aging is a broad, multi-disciplinary network of more than 130 organizations, businesses, municipalities, and older Mainers working to ensure older residents can all live healthy, engaged, and secure lives in our homes and community settings.###