Anne Rothstein Elected New Commission On Aging Chair
After former Commission on Aging (COA) Chair Anna Wiedemann announced in July that she would be moving out of Newtown and therefore stepping down from the board, the group appointed Anne Rothstein as its new chair.
A Newtown resident of more than 40 years, Rothstein has been an active member of the community throughout her time in town.
In addition to the COA, she also serves as a member of the Cyrenius H. Booth Library Board of Trustees, as well as with the Long Range Planning Committee and the Art and History Committee.
She was an educator for more than 60 years — 58 of which were spent at Lehman College, CUNY — and recently retired.
Rothstein’s professional background and philanthropic nature inspired her to get involved with the COA and those attributes have allowed her to be an asset to the group.
“I realize how important it is to care for and engage seniors in our community. They comprise our shared history and our community responsibility,” Rothstein said. “Since 1984 and continuing, I have been a grant writer for Lehman and realized that this may be a skill that could assist the COA.”
When asked how long she has been a member of the COA, she replied, “Many, many years — first as an alternate and then as a regular member.”
Rothstein’s role as chair of the COA will be effective until December 2021, when Wiedemann’s term would have ended.
On August 16, Rothstein started her new position and led the COA’s meeting in the Newtown Municipal Center council chambers.
“My first official meeting as chair was the first [time] I have attended in person since the start of the pandemic, and it was wonderful to see all of the council members who were there and to thank the center staff for all their hard work,” Rothstein said.
The agenda items for the meeting included a talk given by State Representative Mitch Bolinsky, a discussion about the Senior Center puzzle table and plaque honoring the late Robert “Bob” Sharpe, and a variety of financial approvals during the treasurer’s report.
Looking back on the first meeting, Rothstein said, “I thought that the meeting was effective and that we completed the agenda in good time while addressing all of the items.”
She also commended her predecessor for helping the group with such a smooth transition of leadership.
Rothstein shared that Wiedemann has promised to attend the COA meetings through the end of the year and has “left a legacy of decorum and attention to business that will enable the full board to continue the good work we are seeking to accomplish.”
Going forward, Rothstein is committed in being involved in the activities at the Newtown Senior Center.
She hopes to “draw upon the wisdom and leadership of [Director of Human Services] Natalie Jackson and [Newtown Senior Center Assistant Director] Judy Thomas who are fully engaged in assuring that the center meets the needs of Newtown seniors.”
Additionally, Rothstein shared that since she serves as the Friends of the C.H. Booth Library Liaison it may provide further possibilities for senior engagement.
“I like to see the possibilities in everyone and in every situation and am open to suggestions and ideas,” Rothstein said.
She plans to seek out input from people — such as local seniors, the Senior Center staff, members of the COA, Wiedemann, and First Selectman Dan Rosenthal — to help set upcoming agendas.
“Realizing that I am only guaranteed to serve until December, I plan to go slowly and to develop a tentative agenda after consultation with the groups and individuals mentioned. I also plan to draw upon the research I have done for my grants to suggest ways in which Newtown seniors might become further involved in our community,” Rothstein said.
She looks forward to making a positive impact on the community and the opportunity to remain in the position of chair.
“Hopefully, I will be asked to stand for re-election and be able to continue to serve in this capacity going forward,” Rothstein said.
For more information about the Commission on Aging, visit newtown-ct.gov/commission-aging.
Reporter Alissa Silber can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.