Elaine Ryan is the vice president of State Advocacy and Strategy Integration (SASI) in AARP's Government Affairs group. She leads a team of dedicated legislative staff who work with AARP state offices to advance advocacy with Governors and state legislators, helping people 50+ attain and maintain their long-term financial security and health.

Follow Elaine on Twitter: @RoamTheDomes.

Family Caregivers Share Stories, Speak Out For Change

As I work with states across the country, I’ve had the honor of meeting some amazing family caregivers who are standing up and fighting for the support they need. Each time, I am touched deeply by the remarkable and personal stories I hear, like Janet’s. Janet lives in Oregon, and knows firsthand the challenges caregivers face every day.  Six years ago Janet left her job as a television film producer for a true labor of love—to care for her step-father …

‘Help Please’: One Man’s Plea Against Rising Utility Rates

“Help please.” That was Christopher’s message when he signed a petition urging the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities to take action and lower his utility rates. You see, it had been nearly a decade since utility company JCP&L’s rates had been reviewed and we thought it was time to challenge the electricity rates they had been charging their customers for years.  AARP fought hard for Christopher and all New Jerseyans to reduce JCP&L’s rates by almost $35 million so …

Friend, Caregiver, Fighter: One Woman’s Story

As National Women’s History Month comes to a close, I’d like to share the story of my friend Audrey — a woman whose compassion, perseverance, strength and resilience certainly merit an honorable mention in the Women’s Hall of Fame. I met Audrey more than 30 years ago, when she was preparing to leave her own home to move in to care for her father. Like millions of American women do every day, she balanced working full time with family caregiving. …

States Cut Red Tape to Give Nurse Practitioners More Authority

This month, Gov. Pete Ricketts and the Nebraska state legislature made a smart move to remove the barrier that had prevented nurse practitioners from providing complete primary care for their patients. By cutting through the red tape, these elected officials have made more primary care clinicians available for Nebraskans in a variety of settings such as at home and in the community, medical offices, businesses like Walgreens, Target and CVS, and some workplaces. Nineteen other states have similar laws in …

How Is Your State Treating Its Firefighters, Nurses and Teachers?

My pop, a city bus driver, taught me to work hard and also have fun doing it. For more than 25 years, he announced each stop on his route as if he was leading a tour, not driving a Buffalo city bus. Pop retired at the mandatory age of 70. Mom and Pop lived on their Social Security, and Pop’s modest pension income was almost entirely dedicated to pay their health insurance premium. They enjoyed their retirement years, but I …

You’re in Wisconsin. Dad’s in Pennsylvania. What Do You Do When He Needs Help?

Cyndie’s dad suffered a stroke seven years ago. She moved him from Pennsylvania to her home in Wisconsin so she could take care of him. It isn’t always an easy road, but Cyndie is thankful for the precious time she gets to spend with her father. Francesca and her family moved to Florida to care for her aging mother, leaving their home of 27 years in Connecticut. Her role as caregiver grows each month. Althea’s sister Joyce is a partial quadriplegic and …