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Arkansas Democrat proposes ‘senior bill of rights’

Former congressman Mike Ross is a Democratic candidate for governor of Arkansas. (Photo via Mike Ross campaign)

Mike Ross, a former U.S. congressman and current Democratic candidate for Arkansas governor, announced a “senior bill of rights” Thursday, promising a set of policies for senior citizens if he’s elected.

The proposal lists seven priority areas ranging from the right to affordable health insurance to the right to food security, and includes promises such as naming an adviser for senior issues, creating an online portal for all senior issues and services, and working with the attorney general to educate and protect seniors against fraud and schemes. Brad Howard, a campaign spokesman, told The Washington Post that the proposals are a result of meetings with groups such as AARP.

More than 15 percent of Arkansas residents are 65 years old and older, according to Census data, and the state ranks 40th for long-term services and support systems that help older people, adults with disabilities and family caregivers, an AARP study found.

“As governor, I will stand up for our seniors and my door will always be open to groups like the AARP,” Ross said in a statement from his campaign. “We must work in a bipartisan way to improve the quality of life for Arkansas’ aging population as quickly and as comprehensively as possible, and I’m committed to doing so as our next governor.”

A spokesman for Asa Hutchinson, Ross’s Republican opponent and also a former congressman, dismissed the “senior bill of rights. “There is very little new here and it is more generalities and vague promises,” spokesman Christian Olson said in an e-mail. A July poll found Hutchinson leads Ross 46-41.

Hunter Schwarz covers the intersection of politics and pop culture for the Washington Post

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