Hundreds of seniors rally at Capitol over threat of cuts

Hundreds of senior citizens and nursing home advocates rallied at the Capitol Tuesday to try to protect their slice of the state budget.

They called on lawmakers to make the long-term care needs of seniors a spending priority, even though there's a projected $5 billion budget deficit.

DFL Gov. Mark Dayton's Health and Human Services Commissioner Lucinda Jesson told the crowd that lawmakers must be able to see the faces of the people served by state-funded services.

"All of you can help us put faces on those dollars, so that when tough decisions are being made we don't just think of dollars; we think of someone's face," Jesson said.

Rep. Jim Abeler, R-Anoka, chair of the House Health and Human Services Finance Committee, told the rally that House and Senate leaders have made the needs of the elderly and disabled a priority in their budget proposals.