By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter
A new class was inducted into the Alabama Senior Citizens Hall of Fame, last Sunday.
Among those honored at the ceremony was Senator Gerald Dial (R-Lineville). “I take a lot of pride in working for seniors and I am proud to have received this award. It is one of the most special in my legislative career,” said Dial.
Commissioner of the Alabama Department of Senior Services, Neal Morrison, welcomed the gathering of friends and family members of this year’s honorees to the First Baptist Church in Montgomery.
Dial was elected in 1974 to the Alabama House of Representatives and was elected to the Senate in 1983. Senator Dial has been a consistent voice for seniors in the Alabama State Senate.
“I found out early on that our seniors don’t have the kind of money to hire high-priced lobbyist to walk the halls of the Statehouse on their part,” Dial said, “I saw the need and have been fortunate to be able to help support the seniors.”
Dial say credit goes to many people who fight on behalf of seniors including Senator Jimmy Holley, (R-Elba).
Dial, a decorated military veteran served the county for 38 years before retiring as an Assistant Adjutant General of the Alabama National Guard.
Many freshmen senators refer to him as general as he has led them into many skirmishes in legislative sessions.
Dial says that one legislators understand the needs of senior citizen, “It is hard to turn them down.”
The senator was instrumental in establishing an Rx program for Alabama’s seniors.
“We have a group of seniors who make too much money to qualify for Medicaid and make too little to pay for all their prescriptions,” Dial said. “So, we worked with companies so that these people could get the medicines they need.”
Under this program many seniors can qualify to receive certain prescriptions medications from the manufacturer at no cost. The SenioRx Prescription Drug Program, which has saved Alabama seniors more than $245 million in drug costs.
Dial also helped create the Alabama Senior Services Trust Fund and supported the Alabama Tobacco Settlement, which generates $30 million annually for the Department of Medicaid and $2.5 million in appropriations to the Department of Senior Services.
He spearheaded the effort to include the Alabama Department of Senior Services in the Forever Wild Land Trust, an act that generates $150,000 a year for senior programs.
“I have always helped the seniors because I understand the importance of the programs that serve them,” Dial said. “We owe our seniors so much and I am rapidly approaching that place myself,” he said with a laugh.Senator Jimmy Holley, (R-Elba).