United States Capitol Hill Visits

Sharise Thurman Byrd, Jessica Zagarella, Melissa Armstrong, Becky Kurtz, & Connie White visiting Georgia’s U.S. legislators

The USAging Policy Briefing and Capitol Hill Visits were held in April 2023 with attendees from the Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC) and Legacy Link Area Agencies on Aging. USAging is the national association that represents and supports the national network of Area Agencies on Aging. The 2023 policy priorities focused on the following four (4) areas:

  • Supporting Older Americans Act (OAA) programs and services
  • Recognizing and supporting caregivers
  • Prioritizing Medicaid home and community-based services (HCBS) options to reduce unnecessary institutionalization (e.g., nursing home)
  • Supporting healthy aging by connecting health care, aging sectors, and social services to improve care and reduce costs
Melissa Armstrong, Becky Kurtz, Connie White, Jessica Zagarella, & Sharise Thurman Byrd visiting legislators
Sign outside Andrew Clyde's office
Signs outside Andrew Clyde’s office
Becky Kurtz standing outside Nikema Williams’s office








Capitol Hill visits included scheduled office visits to Senator Raphael Warnock, Senator Jon Ossoff, House Representative Andrew Clyde, House Education and Workforce Committee (OAA reauthorization jurisdiction), and House Representative Nikema Williams. Dialogue with each legislative staff encompassed an array of topics including support for the OAA appropriations and reauthorization; flexibilities needed within OAA; impact of potential cuts to OAA funding and the ending of American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) COVID-19 funding; ARC’s Live Beyond Expectations strategic plan to address disparities within life expectancy; and support for citizens within marginalized communities to be able to age in place.

We appreciate the time our federal legislative representatives’ staff took to discuss our priorities to better serve older people, adults with disabilities, and their caregivers and look forward to continuing to work together.

Seven women dressed in business attire standing in front of a sign
Lola Benfield, Jessica Zagarella, Melissa Armstrong, Amy Gotwals, Becky Kurtz, Connie White, and Sharise Thurman Byrd

Learn more about USAging’s 2023 Policy Priorities to promote the #health, #security, and #well-being of older adults.

Sharise Thurman Byrd

Sharise Thurman Byrd is a Program Administrator for the Atlanta Regional Commission Aging & Independence Services Department. Sharise has a Master of Science degree in Gerontology and she is married to John Wendell Byrd, and they have one son