The Texas Silver-Haired Legislature strives to promote good government for all Texans by directly involving Senior citizens in the legislative process. TSHL provides a nonpartisan forum for discussion and debate of Senior issues, advocacy training, and an avenue through which older citizens may serve as a resource to both public and private sectors.
Statement of Beliefs
- Older citizens should have the opportunity to achieve dignity and independence.
- Older citizens experience unique problems; they have special abilities and talents which result from years of experience.
- Good government is the result of the active participation of informed citizens.
- Being an informed and active voter is the highest responsibility of citizenship.
- Effective and lasting solutions to problems result from involvement of those most closely related to the problems.
- Volunteer representatives elected by their peers and having close contact with their constituents are qualified to discuss issues on aging and recommend solutions to problems of older Texans.
History of the Silver-Haired Legislature
The first Silver-Haired Legislature was organized by the State of Missouri in 1973. The concept has now been adopted in 26 states.
The Texas Silver-Haired Legislature (TSHL) was introduced to the Board of Directors by the Advisory Council of the Texas Department on Aging in 1983 where it was listed as a “legislative priority.” A resolution to establish the TSHL was passed by the Board in 1984. The following year, the 69th Texas Legislature adopted Senate Concurrent Resolution #37.
In 1986, planning and implementation was completed by a statewide steering committee together with the Texas Department on Aging Staff, members of the Area Agencies on Aging, and various volunteers. The elected members of the first TSHL met for a five-day training and orientation session in July of 1986. The Secretary of State swore in the first TSHL members on September 29 of that year.
The Texas Silver-Haired Legislature Strategic Plan provides a guide to the future of the Association. The plan is based upon the Legislative authorization from the 69th Texas Legislature and the Association vision statement.
There are six main goals that the TSHL strives to achieve. The TSHL goals center around Senior welfare and range from motivation and education to the provision of an open discussion forum for Seniors. The objective of these goals is to realize the passage of TSHL priorities in the Texas Legislature.
The TSHL offices generally mirror those of the Texas House of Representatives. Officers are elected by TSHL members to the positions of Speaker, Speaker Pro-Tem, Deputy Speaker Pro-Tem, Secretary, and Comptroller. In addition, there are several offices in the Administrative and Legislative Committees.
Our vision is that the applied wisdom, energy, and experience of aging will improve the lives of Texans through education, knowledge, and involvement in legislation and governmental affairs.
A memorial to past members who served the TSHL. Their friendship and service are greatly missed.