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What's on the mind of 50-plus Helena-area voters?

What's on the mind of 50-plus Helena-area voters?

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From the number of yard signs you see around the Helena area, it must be election time again!

This year, the races are mostly local, including mayoral and city commission races for Helena and East Helena. However, we all know that local leaders and their decisions can have profound impacts on a community, so it’s very important to vote.

AARP believes that Helena-area candidates need to know what issues are top-of-mind for 50-plus voters and that voters should get to know the candidates so they can make informed choices at the polls.

AARP Montana recently sent out an informal email survey to Helena-area AARP members to find out what their top age-friendly issues are. Since voters age 50-plus usually have a strong impact on local races, we wanted to make sure the candidates are listening.

We posed three simple questions to 50-plus voters. Here are the questions with the top answers:

What are the three most important age-friendly issues that you think Helena-area mayoral and city commission candidates should prioritize and support?

  • Provide additional safe, affordable and accessible housing options.
  • Expand public and private transportation options and services.
  • Ensure that the city budget is efficient, transparent and accountable so residents know how city spending occurs.

What do you think is the most important problem or challenge facing mid-life or older Helena-area residents as they age?

  • Access to affordable and reliable public transportation options.
  • Affordable housing.
  • Lack of affordable senior housing options.
  • Being able to age in-place at home.
  • Lack of health care facility options.

What other issues should Helena-area mayoral and city commission candidates prioritize?

  • Develop safer streets, trails and sidewalks.
  • Offer more senior housing options.
  • Develop more infrastructure.
  • Deal with increasing traffic.
  • Create more public and private transportation options.

AARP Montana staff have recently met with 11 of the 12 mayoral and city commission candidates in Helena and East Helena. We have shared with them the results of this informal survey and most have expressed strong interest and gratitude in knowing the top concerns of 50-plus voters.

We invite all Helena-area voters, no matter of their age, to ask the candidates what their local priorities are and how they intend to shape local policies. Learn as much as you can about the candidates and then make your decision by voting.

Also, as a public service, AARP created a site for Helena-area voters to get more information on where and how to vote this fall. The link to that site is:

AARP is nonpartisan, does not operate a political action committee (PAC) and does not endorse candidates. We focus on the issues that are most important to those age 50-plus.

Happy voting!

Nancy Andersen is the outreach director of AARP Montana.



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