Did you know on February 19, 2014 Senator Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., co-sponsored S. 2026, legislation to exempt U.S. athletes competing in the Olympics and Paralympics from paying taxes on the medals and prize money they bring home? The legislation is also co-sponsored by Senators Marco Rubio, R-Fla., Chuck Shumer, D-N.Y., Mark Kirk, R-Ill., Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., Tim Scott, R-S.C., Roger Wicker, R-Miss., and John Hoeven, R-N.D. So? Senator Isakson and other co-sponsors value what U.S. athletes represent. Our pride. Our achievement. Our standing in the world. Could not the commitment of Senator Isakson and the other Senators be extended to helping us with the ratification of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD)? I say yes, if we ask.
From visiting Senator Isakson's website, I get the sense that he is a practical man, a problem solver. He is not afraid of bipartisanship. He seems to have an appreciation of thinking out of the box and collaborating. In December 2013 with others from both sides of the isle and both the House and Senate, he launched, as co-chair with Senator Heitkamp and Reps. Farr and Jenkins, the Defense Communities Caucus. This caucus is focused on helping communities where military installations are located and where many veterans and their families, as well as those who are on active duty, live. If veterans were to reach out to Senator Isakson on the CRPD, they may get a receptive ear. Those who have experience overseas or are planning to go could share stories about the impact of and need for shared policies on disability rights and accessibility.
Finally, Senator Isakson, is a member of two committees that are very important to people with disabilities -- the Senate Finance Committee and the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions. Wouldn't it be of value to us to approach him now on the CRPD and begin to develop a long-term relationship with him, so we would have his ear when entitlement and rehabilitation issues come up on the committees on which he serves?
Here is his contact information:
Washington, D.C.: 202.224.3643
Website from which you may leave a message: www.isakson.senate.gov
There are potential allies in the Senate for ratification. Senator Isakson is one of them. Please contact him. I know he will listen. He cares about things that are important to us. Use them to start the conversation.