AARP has announced the appointment of Jim Ko as the new AARP Washington State President. In his volunteer role, Ko will direct the organization’s activities on behalf of nearly 940,000 Washington State members, and provide leadership in long-range planning to help meet the needs of the state’s older adults and their families.
“I welcome the opportunity to work with Washington’s AARP volunteers and staff,” said Ko. “I plan to continue our efforts around consumer protection, health and long-term care issues, and the fight to preserve the social safety net for our most vulnerable citizens. These issues 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,” said Ko. “Here in Washington State, 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, and no American should be forced to choose between paying for the medicines they need and paying for food, rent or other necessities,” he said.
Ko has been an active AARP volunteer since 2017, helping older adults complete their tax returns with the AARP Foundation Tax Aide program and as a member of AARP’s Volunteer Executive Council. “I’m excited to welcome Jim to his new volunteer role,” said AARP State Director Doug Shadel. “His passion for community service and commitment to improving the lives of older Washingtonians and their families will serve our members well.”
Ko is a retired consumer goods industry executive with experience in general management, operations, project management, business and new venture development, and international trade. As Vice President of Channel Business Development for Starbucks from 2011-2015, he led the successful negotiation of new business partnerships and product launches in Asia and Europe. He’s also held positions with Pepperidge Farm, DuPont and Kraft Foods.
Ko holds an M.S. in Management and Operations Research from Columbia University in New York, and a B.S. in Industrial Engineering/Operations Research from Cornell University. He lives in Seattle with his wife Catherine, and has two grown children. Ko succeeds Mike Tucker of Lacey, who served as State President for AARP Washington from 2014 – 2019.