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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Joe Schomacker (R)

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Wednesday, November 19, 2014

ST. PAUL – Minnesota House Speaker-designate Kurt Daudt has appointed State Representative Joe Schomacker (R-Luverne) as Chairman of the newly created Aging & Long-Term Care Policy Committee in the Minnesota House.

Schomacker said the new committee is necessary because there continues to be a crisis within the long term care industry – particularly with its workforce – as more and more baby boomers age and retire.

“Both Democrats and Republicans have done just enough over the years to say they’ve begun addressing long term care needs, but workers within the industry are still just getting by,” Schomacker said. “Our new House leadership recognizes that senior care funding and long-term care regulation issues must be made over the next two years, and I look forward to helping make wholesale improvements.”

Long-term care is a top legislative priority for Schomacker, as it is the top employer in House District 22A. At 28 years old, it may not seem obvious for Schomacker to chair a committee dealing with aging. However, Schomacker says his perspective will be to work towards generational improvements in long term care.

"We need to get off this path of doing what gets us by from year to year," Schomacker said. "We're facing a 'silver tsunami' in senior care through 2035 and it's going to be the next generation workforce who pays for it. Long term care needs a long term plan in Minnesota."

In the last year, Schomacker said one out of five Minnesota nursing homes turned seniors away due a lack of employees to meet the demands of an increasing aging population. He also noted that 15 percent of nursing homes discuss closing their doors each year due to inadequate funding problems, meaning the Legislature should address the long-term care dilemma with a sense of urgency.

Schomacker was recently elected to his 3rd term in the Minnesota House.