Elder exploitation example of candidate influence, opportunity

Tom in Ohio has spent many years trying to bring attention to the increased risk of exploitation faced by aging Americans.  During this presidential election cycle, Tom, like any good advocate, is watching to see what the candidates are saying about his issue. 

Estate of Denial loves accountability.  We find it lacking in most of life’s venues — especially government!  The candidates are speaking on a poll-tested, voter-friendly scripted roster of campaign issues.  Something largely unaddressed is their participation on congressional committees.  The leading candidates all have this experience.  Anyone with knowledge of our political process understands that committee assignments are influential accoutrements of congressional life and important forums through which change can be effected.  Despite this, however, these coveted positions are rarely discussed with any detail on the campaign trail.   

“Change” is a hot buzz word for this cycle and young voters are energized. With that, Tom offered one of his local college newspapers the following piece using his issue of exploitation of the elderly to illustrate how committee performance can be an important analytical tool for gauging a candidate’s mindset and assessing a potential future performance.  Here are Tom’s thoughts: 

WHY DO WE VOTE FOR LAWMAKERS RATHER THAN COMMITTEE MEMBERS?  This is one of several questions that I hope you will pose to students, faculty, and others, including candidates for public office.
 
IN ORDER TO CLARIFY THIS QUESTION, LET ME PROVIDE AN EXAMPLE which begins with the observation that Hillary Clinton is a member of the Senate Special Committee on Aging.  Has anyone in the media asked her about her work on this committee?  If not, why not?  Doesn’t anyone in the media believe her work on this committee to be relevant to her bid to be president?
 
In order to provide further clarification, let me observe that for nearly two decades I have sought out lawmakers who are passionate about protecting individuals against the opportunists who would take advantage of them while they are most susceptible to being taken advantage of as a result of conditions like Alzheimer’s disease, stroke, and sedation under a Do Not Resuscitate order.  Why?  Because better safeguards are needed.  See http://members.aol.com/tvfields/Directory.htm for some examples, including an excellent recommendation made by the American Medical Association and another which I shared in 2005 with delegates to the White House Conference on Aging.  Lacking a public outcry, such recommendations have been ignored and will likely continue to be ignored under the current system.
 
IF PEOPLE WANT REAL CHANGE, LET’S DISCUSS REAL CHANGE.  Letting the public vote for those who represent us on legislative committees would be real change.  Making those who will sit on legislative committees focus their campaigns on the work of those committees would be real change.
 
I might not be sufficiently knowledgeable to represent others on many issues, but I am sufficiently competent to represent others on the one issue mentioned here — and more competent to do so than those who currently represent us in this capacity.  I shouldn’t need to run on every issue in order to campaign for the opportunity to do what none of the current candidates have done or will do, namely sponsor legislation like that which I advocate for the purpose of protecting individuals against the opportunists who would take advantage of them while they are most susceptible to being taken advantage of as a result of conditions like Alzheimer’s disease, stroke, and sedation under a Do Not Resuscitate order.
 
LET’S DISCUSS REAL CHANGE.

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