By Richard Cramond:
The top personal concern for Fairfax County senior Democrats is healthcare, with environment number two, according to a survey by the Senior Affairs/Advocacy Committee of the Fairfax County Democratic Committee (FCDC).
The survey in July went to almost 1,000 FCDC members aged 50 or more, of whom about 1/3 responded. Health care was overwhelmingly selected as top priority, with more than 80% of respondents listing it as “very important” to them personally, and none deeming it “not important”.
Health care swept the board geographically, with respondents in each of the county’s nine magisterial districts assessing it as highest importance. In addition, it scored number one in each of the four age bands into which respondents were sorted.
Second in importance was the environment, nudging out financial security in third place. Following these, in order, were “aging in place”, “local taxation” and “age discrimination”.
The committee limited the survey to six items for ease of response, but also solicited free-form comments. A number of respondents took advantage of this opportunity to express concern about affordable housing and transportation. An even larger number, unsurprisingly, were quite upset about the current state of American politics!
The high priority of the environment was surprising, as this is an issue that does not impact daily life to the same degree as the other topics. But this topic had wide appeal across the county, with one district ranking it as number one (tied with health care) and six others scoring it as number two. From an age perspective, the lowest age band (50-54) viewed environment as relatively less important – ranking it third below financial security – whereas those prioritizations were reversed for each of the higher age bands.
The results mirrored to some extent the result of a nationwide poll by AARP in July, which also found health care topic number one. The AARP survey , however, also highlighted concern about the GOP-led tax bill, with 52% saying it would hurt them financially, and only 22% saying it would help them.
The Senior Affairs/Advocacy Committee – soon to be renamed the 50+ Committee – will use the results of the survey to educate Democratic elected officials and to design advocacy programs to better respond to the needs and concerns of Fairfax County’s 50+ population.
Richard Cramond, a retired engineer, is a member of the Senior Affairs Committee and the Sully District Democratic Committees