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Published December 31, 2013, 08:41 AM

Silver-haired Legislative Assemblies to end in North Dakota

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — A North Dakota organization that for three decades has educated senior citizens on the state legislative process has decided to dissolve.

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — A North Dakota organization that for three decades has educated senior citizens on the state legislative process has decided to dissolve.

The Silver-haired Education Association accomplished its goal mainly through a biennial Silver-haired Legislative Assembly at the state Capitol in Bismarck. The mock Legislature has been held every even-numbered year since 1982, but interest and participation has waned in recent years.

The association "has lost much of its effectiveness because of the lack of grassroots support from local senior clubs and county senior organizations," spokeswoman Marlow Nelson said in a statement.

During the early years of the assemblies, each of the state's 53 counties was represented by two delegates. Fewer than half of the counties were represented at the 2012 assembly. Part of the reason is that the association is unable to cover the expenses of county delegates, officials said.

A committee voted to dissolve the association after a six-month survey of county and local senior organizations that showed insufficient funding and limited Silver-haired Legislative Assembly delegates for 2014.

The association "has struggled financially for the past 15 years," Nelson said. "County and local senior entities have chosen not to support, or have been financially unable to support, SHEA on an annual basis."

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