Dunn wins place in Silver-Haired Legislature

Published 12:00 am Monday, May 16, 2005

Demopolis’s Myrtle Dunn has won election to Alabama’s Silver-Haired Legislature for service during the fall term.

The Alabama Silver-Haired Legislature, or ASHL, is a model legislature made up of members 60 and older, with representatives elected by their peers from each of Alabama’s 105 legislative districts.

Dunn won the May 3 District 68 election by a 57 to 43 percent margin over opponent Drew Johnson, like Dunn a resident of Demopolis and also like Dunn a member of Demopolis First Baptist Church.

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“I’m very excited,” she said. “I’m going to be meeting in small groups of silver-haired people in Camden and Linden and other places to get their input. I’m really excited that I’m going to get to work on some things for the silver-haired people in our area.”

According to a press release announcing Dunn’s victory, the ASHL’s “annual legislative session [is] usually held in the chambers of the Alabama House of Representative, and in coordination with the Area Agency on Aging, ASHL members draft, debate, and vote on resolutions. Their prioritized issues are then presented to the Governor and to members of the Alabama State Legislature as the basis for legislation addressing senior needs.”

The need to speak for her silver-haired constituents means that Dunn will be spending a lot of time between now and the fall session discovering what issues they feel should be prioritized.

“I have to listen to their needs first,” says Dunn, “and have that information ready.”

Among the issues Dunn says she will be gauging interest in will be access to prescription medication and options for funding in-home care, which Dunn says is an issue close to her own heart.

“We need to have laws passed and increase the options for home care,” she says. “Silver-haired men and women are people who value being independent.”

Dunn also said that the election had done nothing to hurt her friendship with Johnson, noting that the two of them had travelled together only recently on a trip with the First Baptist youth group. According to Dunn Johnson has, in fact, accepted a similar position to Dunn’s in Dallas County.

“The ASHL’s purpose,” says another press release “is to give seniors a real-life experience in representing the interests of older Alabamians in state government.”

Dunn says it’s an experience she can’t wait to start.

“I’m really looking forward to going to Montgomery,” she says.