By Lisa Capobianco
The Connecticut AARP honored Republican State Senator Joe Markley with the 2013 Legislative Achievement Award for his commitment to protecting the consumer rights of senior citizens in Southington.
Last week, the Connecticut AARP, along with members of the community, applauded Senator Markley at Jensen’s Clubhouse for his work to ensure that seniors continued to have access to landline phones and to stabilize reasonable electric costs. Connecticut AARP recognized Markley in 2011 for making consumers aware of a new tax on utility bills.
“He cares about his people and our town. We are impressed with what he does,” said AARP volunteer Janet Ferracci-Carter, of Southington.
“He is a genuine person,” added AARP volunteer Laura Schiavone.
Markley said he feels proud of the work he has helped accomplish for senior citizens, and members of the community as a whole. During the 2012 Legislative Session, AARP helped defeat legislation that would have “deregulated telephone service in Connecticut,” making it “easier for companies to drop landline service in certain areas of the state,” reported the AARP on its website. Markley said opposing this legislation served as an important way for him to help not only senior citizens but people of all ages who may not feel ready to transition out of using landline service in their homes.
“I can share some of the same concerns that people feel,” said Markley, adding that he has established a close relationship with the Southington volunteers of the AARP, meeting with its members throughout the year to discuss these issues. “It is nice to know that your work is appreciated…I am happy to work with them.”
Jennifer Millea, the Communications Director of Connecticut AARP, said over a dozen state legislators received the same award for 2013, including Representative Al Adinolfi, who also represents Southington. She said Senator Markley played a vital role in legislation that “would have affected telecommunications customers in the state.”
“It is really legislators who have really championed issues for AARP,” Millea said.
For Southington resident Billye Simmers who lives at Jensen Communities, seeing Senator Markley receive the award serves as a reminder of the support she has received from him for an issue she holds a passion for: traumatic brain injuries. As the chair for the Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) Advisory Committee, Simmers helps spread more awareness about programs and services for individuals who have suffered from TBI. In 2012 year, Markley showed his support by attending the board’s annual meeting.
“It engages me to be a part of his work,” said Simmers.