Media Room


Governor Kate Brown
AARP Age Friendly Summit
December 9, 2019

Good morning everyone!

I love any opportunity to talk about something near and dear to my 59-year-old heart: getting older.

Because guess what, folks? I’m no spring chicken. 

But I hear that 60 is the new 30, so that’s something to look forward to...

Though I love being your governor, needless to say that in my final term, I sure am looking forward to a long and active retirement! Look out!

It’s true. People are living longer than any generation before. Forty-six million Americans are over 65. And the average 10-year old today has a 50% chance of living to be 100 years old!

And since folks are living longer than ever before, it’s our job to ensure a quality of life that stands the test of time. 

My mother is a shining example of this.

Some of you may have guessed this, but I come from a long line of hearty midwestern women.

My mom, Sally Brown, is 85 years old. She’s incredible: an outdoors enthusiast and the best damn pickleball player this side of the Mississippi.

I’m not kidding, the woman has a gift.

That’s why we call her Slammin’ Sally.

Last year she was visiting me in Salem, and we took her to the wear her out a little bit.

There were these two very fit middle-aged gentlemen on the pickleball court. And, of course, mom challenged them to a match. 

They readily agreed. And boy, were they in for a surprise.

In a game of doubles, where I don’t think I hit the ball once, Slammin’ Sally mopped the floor with these guys. 

Eighty-five years old. Or what she calls “the new middle age.”

And I know there is many a Slammin’ Sally or Jumpin' Joe in this room today. 

My job is to ensure all Oregonians have the opportunity to thrive. And our aging population deserves an Oregon that serves their financial, mobility, and cultural needs.

We are striving to make housing more available and affordable, especially for those on a fixed income.

Since becoming your governor, we have spent half a billion dollars on affordable housing, rental assistance, and homelessness prevention. But that’s only the tip of the iceberg.

On Friday, I had the opportunity to visit Laurelwood Transition Projects and witness first-hand all of the incredible work happening there. 

One hundred and twenty-five residents. The oldest was 86 years old. 

We need to do more to ensure that the most vulnerable Oregonians, including and especially our aging population, have a safe, warm, dry, and affordable place to call home.

We are seeking to encourage mobile and inclusive communities. Communities where everything you need is within your reach.

Thanks to Keep Oregon Moving (HB 2017), we plan to spend $100 million per year to improve public transit all over this great state. And more than $10 million per year to improve sidewalks and bike lanes. 

Everyone -- from kids getting to school to folks our age getting to doctor’s appointments or the Mt. Scott Community Center for a workout -- should be able to safely get where they need to go.

Tech is also our friend here; it can ensure safety for those among us who want or need to age in place.

And we are fighting to control rising healthcare costs so that all Oregonians can get the care that they need.

This means fighting to sustain funding for the Oregon Health Plan. It also means finding a way to curb the rising cost of prescription drugs.

If we do not control the rising costs of health care, too many Oregon families will again find that the care they need is beyond their reach.

And that is just unacceptable. 

Because we all have so much to contribute to Oregon. And I look forward to seeing what you got. 

If you’re anything like Slammin’ Sally Brown, it only gets better with age.

Thank you.