‘Passion for community’ drives new Washington AARP leader

‘Passion for community’ drives new Washington AARP leader

Before he retired, Jim Ko was an executive in the consumer goods industry with Starbucks (leading business negotiations and product launches in Asia and Europe), Pepperidge Farm, DuPont, and Kraft Foods. Then he turned to volunteering in the AARP Tax-Aide program, helping seniors complete their federal tax returns. And now he has a new role with AARP–as president of the organization’s Washington chapter.

“His passion for community service and commitment to improving the lives of older Washingtonians and their families will serve our (nearly 940,000) members well,” said state director Doug Shadel, who announced Ko’s appointment to replace Mike Tucker, who served as state president from 2014 to this year.

Ko said he welcomes being part of AARP’s advocacy on consumer protection, health and long-term care issues that “not only affect today’s older adults, but also their families and friends for generations to come.”

“Of particular concern right now is the skyrocketing costs of prescription drugs,” he said. “In Washington, the average annual cost of brand-name prescription drug treatment increased 58 percent between 2012 and 2017, while the annual income for Washingtonians increased only 9.9 percent. Prescription drugs don’t work if patients can’t afford them.”

Ko and his wife Catherine live in Seattle and have two grown children.