By Mark Archuleta
Labor Day might as well be the starting gun for the election season and the first event will be at the Santa Clarita Valley Senior Center where voters will have the opportunity to hear from candidates in the November 6 election – Democratic candidates so far.
To date, scheduled to speak and take questions are Lee Rogers, Democratic candidate for the 25th Congressional district, and Edward Headington, Democratic candidate for the 38th state Assembly district.
“I’m hoping a few more candidates that are still kind of pending that we’re hoping will confirm. We’d like to have as many as possible out here for that,” said Josh Premako, Communications Coordinator, SCV Senior Center.
Scott Wilk, Republican candidate for the 38th state Assembly District, says he wanted to be there but was only offered one date and he was already booked.
“I’ve volunteered my services to the senior center in the past. I’m a big supporter of the senior center. I wish I could be there. They gave me one date, can’t make it,” said Wilk.
Robin Clough, who is booking the event for the senior center, says she has not heard back from McKeon’s office. She’d only tried to contact his office online. State senate candidates in the region have also been contacted.
Permako says the candidates will have the opportunity to share their platforms, address senior issues such as Medicare, low-income housing and Social Security, and field questions from the audience.
“Health care and Medicare are really huge topics right now at the local level and national level. When it comes to seniors what are the candidates going to do for their constituents?” said Permako.
Another issue that could be a hot topic of conversation is funding. At Tuesday’s Santa Clarita City Council meeting, the city elected to give the senior center $100,000. Those funds will allow the senior center to provide home delivered meals to over sixty seniors who’d been on a waiting list.
Permako says the story of their financial difficulties is similar to many non-profits.
“In the valley, I think that’s everywhere, but particularly in the valley with the recession in the past few years it’s caused some challenges for any non-profits. We just continue to raise funds,” said Permako.
The forum will dovetail with an Open House at the SCV Senior Center, (which was incorporated as a non-profit in 1976) including refreshments, tours of the building and overviews of programs and activities at the center.
In addition to a daily lunch program that draws as many as 140 seniors a day the SCV Senior Center provides Adult Day Care, trips and tours, arts, writing and exercise classes.
The Open House and Candidate Forum will be held at the Senior Center, 22900 Market St. Newhall CA, Thursday, Sept. 20, from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Call 661-259-9444 for more information.