Oped: Driscoll puts the focus on senior citizens

TIMES FILE PHOTO

By Ameer Abusiyam, Danielle Costantino and Isabelle Schwartz

We are 12th-grade students from Julia R. Masterman High School, and we live in the 173rd Legislative District. Through our thorough research, we have noticed and are pleased with Rep. Michael Driscoll’s high interest in education and his support of senior citizens within our community. We believe that it is important to put focus toward all age groups in order to ensure positive change among everyone.

We agree with the amount that Driscoll advocates in favor of making funding more available in early education as well as fostering a climate that will enable hard-working college graduates to find good jobs in the state. As seniors in high school, who are following the path toward college education, we think that it is crucial that young graduates have the opportunity to have good jobs as they enter the real world. He has sponsored countless bills that provide bullying-prevention education, suicide prevention at institutions of higher education and policies for alcohol and drug use amnesty at certain institutions of higher education. The mental health of today’s youth, especially in a school setting, is something that should not be overlooked, and we commend him for focusing on the well-being of students. He also sponsored a bill that requires institutions of higher education to provide students with education loan disclosures. Once again, his efforts to make funding more available is very appreciated and we hope that he continues to support the mental health of students, while focusing on making education more accessible to everyone.

Senior citizens are a group that is often ignored in today’s society. It is great to see that Driscoll has made a lot of change as a member of the House Committee on Aging and Older Adult Services. He sponsored the Taxpayer Relief Act for senior citizens’ property tax and rent rebate assistance, and he proposed the Philadelphia Property Tax Freeze Program to increase the income eligibility by 225 percent for identifying as being in poverty for senior citizens. In addition, he supported Act 87 to make access more convenient for senior citizens to receive aid for paying for prescriptions through the state’s prescription drug assistance program. This will result in 17,000 more senior citizens in Pennsylvania having cheaper or free medications.

The effects of his consideration for our senior citizens of Pennsylvania include fewer financial burdens, improved health benefits and more overall progress for security in their lives.

Although Driscoll’s involvement regarding education and the elderly in our community is appreciated, we believe there are other issues that could also use more attention. Through our research of the many bills he has sponsored and supported, it was very difficult to find bills addressing taxes and our economy. We think that it is important for him to not only have more of a voice about these specific issues, but to have them more accessible to the public. It is essential to guarantee security in the workforce as the coming generations grow older, and to make sure the proper resources are provided for those individuals.

Considering the importance of jobs in the United States, it is necessary for future generations to better understand the economy, that way there is a stronger foundation and comprehension of what they may face in the long run. It would be treasured, not only by us, but the entire community if his voice could further enforce bills regarding taxes and the economy. ••

Ameer, Danielle and Isabelle are seniors at Julia R. Masterman High School. In their social sciences class, they have been assigned a project to write an op-ed on their local state representative.