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Governor Walz Signs Executive Order, Commits to Making Minnesota an ‘Age-Friendly State’

12/11/2019 2:33:53 PM

[ST. PAUL, MN] – Governor Tim Walz today signed Executive Order 19-38 , establishing the Governor’s Council on an Age Friendly Minnesota and formalizing his commitment to making Minnesota the best state to live in at any age.

“Aging is a reality that we all face, whether it’s our parents and grandparents, our friends and neighbors, or ourselves,” said Governor Walz. “Everyone wants to live in a community that is respectful, inclusive, and supportive of our contributions and needs. This executive order coordinates efforts across agencies and sectors to move us all toward an age-friendly Minnesota.”

There are one million older adults in Minnesota, and by 2020, the number of older adults over age 65 will exceed the number of children under age 18 living in Minnesota. This demographic shift presents several opportunities and challenges for decisionmakers to consider in areas including financial security, housing, transportation, health care, employment, and social service needs.

“The older adults in our lives are critical to building vibrant communities in every corner of Minnesota,” said Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan. “When we promote healthy aging and engage with older adults as essential to the social, economic, and civic fabric of our state, we pursue better health care, transportation, housing and child care, and social services for all Minnesotans.”

The Executive Order sets in motion Minnesota’s path to being designated as an Age-Friendly State by the AARP Network of Age-Friendly States & Territories program. The Governor’s Council on an Age Friendly Minnesota will guide the development of a comprehensive assessment and action plan to coordinate work across state, local and tribal governments, non-profits, communities, businesses and others in support of aging adults in Minnesota.

“Healthy and purposeful aging is about much more than doctor appointments and long-term care,” said DHS Commissioner Jodi Harpstead. “By recognizing not only the unique needs of older adults, but also their many social, economic and civic contributions, more Minnesotans will be able to lead full, vibrant lives as they age.”

“AARP is thrilled that Governor Walz is setting the course for Minnesota to enroll in the AARP Network of States and Communities. Our state is aging, and while this presents challenges, there is also a lot of opportunity just waiting to be tapped,” said Will Phillips, AARP Minnesota State Director. “By committing to becoming more age friendly, Minnesota can solve for those challenges while simultaneously creating a state where older adults can thrive. Fortunately, the structures, services, and community features that support older residents also help their children and grandchildren: transportation options; safe, affordable places to live; a community commitment to health and wellness; and opportunities to stay engaged and productive. We look forward to the work ahead.”

The Governor’s Council on an Age Friendly Minnesota will be made up of representatives from the following state agencies and boards:

  • The Minnesota Board on Aging
  • Department of Commerce
  • Department of Employment and Economic Development
  • Minnesota Department of Health
  • Minnesota Housing Finance Agency
  • Department of Human Services
  • Minnesota Department of Transportation
  • Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs
  • Metropolitan Council

Additionally, the Governor may appoint up to six additional Council members, seeking representation from older adults, direct service caregivers, businesses, experts on aging, local governments, and tribal communities. Other state agencies and boards may participate on the Council in a non-voting capacity.

The Council’s preliminary action plan and legislative recommendations are due to the Governor by August 15, 2020, with the final action plan and recommendations for implementation of any enacted legislation related to age-friendly policies to be submitted to the Governor by December 31, 2021.

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