SANTA FE — Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham rallied seniors Tuesday in favor of a $25 million proposal to establish a new fund that would help needy seniors with food, transportation and similar services.
The legislation, House Bill 225, would create the Kiki Saavedra Senior Dignity Fund — named after the longtime state representative who died a year ago.
“It is time that the state steps up,” Lujan Grisham said as she addressed a crowd of seniors and others gathered outside the Governor’s Office.
The senior dignity fund is part of Lujan Grisham’s budget recommendations to the Legislature.
The state Aging and Long-Term Services Department — an agency Lujan Grisham once led — would oversee the money. It would be dedicated to addressing “high-priority services” for seniors, including help with food, transportation, physical and behavioral health, caregiving and case management.
A particular emphasis would be on helping seniors, veterans and adults with disabilities in rural areas where services are difficult to access.
“We need to reinvest in those services,” said Rep. Deborah Armstrong, an Albuquerque Democrat and co-sponsor of the bill.