Bowser hon­ors el­derly res­i­dents at an­nual Se­nior Fest pic­nic lunch

The Washington Times Daily - - METRO - BY JA­SON TIDD

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser made the most of her 15-minute ap­pear­ance Thurs­day at the an­nual Se­nior Fest, telling hun­dreds of el­derly res­i­dents about the ac­com­plish­ments of her ad­min­is­tra­tion amid a pic­nic at­mos­phere of free food and live mu­sic.

“I want to just thank you for your tremen­dous sup­port, for your tough ques­tions, for your ad­vo­cacy, for your help in the com­mu­nity, for your pres­ence in our schools,” Miss Bowser said in an ad­dress to the res­i­dents. “Thank you for let­ting me be your mayor, thank you for that, be­cause in two and a half years we’ve got­ten a lot of things done.”

The Demo­cratic mayor, who is pre­par­ing to run for re­elec­tion next year, noted the suc­cess of ini­tia­tives such as the Safe at Home pro­gram, which she said has helped 700 se­niors and res­i­dents with dis­abil­i­ties con­tinue to live at home. She also called at­ten­tion to the city’s $100 mil­lion an­nual in­vest­ment for af­ford­able hous­ing, em­ploy­ment pro­grams for re­tired res­i­dents and a pi­lot pro­gram that de­liv­ers gro­ceries to se­niors’ homes.

“This is the best time in the his­tory of Wash­ing­ton, D.C.,” Miss Bowser said. “Bal­anced bud­gets, clean au­dits, peo­ple mov­ing here, we’re meet­ing all the good gov­ern­ment stan­dards. But none of that would be worth a dog­gone if we weren’t serv­ing our se­niors and serv­ing those that need the gov­ern­ment the most.”

Thurs­day’s four-hour pic­nic fes­ti­val in North­east’s Ke­nil­worth Park pro­vided the mayor an op­por­tu­nity to mix and min­gle with el­derly likely vot­ers in a low-key en­vi­ron­ment. Dur­ing her time on the main stage, she in­tro­duced the crowd to some of her aides — namely, HyeSook Chung, deputy mayor for health and hu­man ser­vices; Keith An­der­son, di­rec­tor of the Depart­ment of Parks and Recre­ation; and Laura New­land, di­rec­tor of the Of­fice on Ag­ing.

“I want you to know some­thing: Wash­ing­ton, D.C., your gov­ern­ment, the 33,000 peo­ple that work for D.C. gov­ern­ment, they are [sup­port­ing se­niors] ev­ery sin­gle day,” Miss Bowser said.

Her mes­sage was not lost on David Ge­orge, who lives in a se­nior hous­ing com­mu­nity on the 3300 block of 14th Street NW. He said res­i­dents, es­pe­cially those of ad­vanced years, ben­e­fit from ac­tiv­i­ties like Se­nior Fest.

“They need more ac­tiv­i­ties like this to bring them up so they don’t have to be left out,” Mr. Ge­orge said. “A lot of them where I live at, they’re bored, then they talk to them­selves be­cause they don’t know what else to do with them­selves … and they don’t know how to bring their spirit up.”

Frances Cur­tis John­son, who was crowned Ms. Se­nior D.C. on Sun­day, said she has al­ways been able to call and talk to some­one in the mayor’s of­fice and get re­sponses to her emails, com­mend­ing the good cus­tomer ser­vice.

“Case in point, my mother-in-law needed some le­gal ser­vices, and they con­tacted us in about two to three days with free le­gal ad­vice on what we should do,” Ms. John­son said. “I could tell you the re­tainer fee if you went out­side of that starts at $500.”

She will com­pete in the Ms. Se­nior Amer­ica Pageant in At­lantic City, New Jersey, in Oc­to­ber.


D.C. res­i­dents move through the line of in­for­ma­tional ta­bles for ser­vices for se­niors Thurs­day at the Se­nior Fest pic­nic in Ke­nil­worth Park in North­east.

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