Friday, May 16, 2014

Senator Toomey and the CRPD

I spent last week viewing videos, reading, and thinking about Senator Patrick Toomey of Pennsylvania. He may just be the Republican who steps up and breaks the Senate impasse on ratification of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). He has a current working relationship with both Senator Menendez, Chairman of the Senate Foreign a Relations Committee, and Senator Corker, its ranking Republican member.

Senator Toomey doesn't sit back and wait for others to propose good ideas (S. 1658, The Start-Up Jobs and Innovation Act, introduced with Senator Menendez on  November 6, 2013.). If he sees legislation with a good track record in the House, he has no problem sponsoring it in the Senate (S.1596, protecting children from sexual predators). He is willing to work with Democrat colleagues on a bipartisan basis on issues. He is mild-mannered, well spoken, and thoughtful. He is a frequent visitor on both Fox News and MSNBC. Although not on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, he has no problem co-sponsoring legislation that has international implications (with Senator Corker, S. 2277, the Russian Aggression Prevention Act). His legislative efforts also include protecting children (Justice for Amy Act) and supporting research in the area of Alzheimer's disease. He is committed to protecting the vulnerable and promoting fairness and opportunity for small businesses. He advocates for a strong U.S. presence in resolving conflicts overseas.

I do not know if anyone has talk to him about the CRPD, but he is not a flamethrower. His legislation seems driven by practical considerations -- he wants to solve problems. And to do so, being in the minority in the Senate, he recognizes the importance of collaboration with Democrats.

This CRPD may not be on Senator Toomey's radar, but we could put it there. We could let him know that --

1. Ratifying a CRPD would help us with other international issues on which we want to be a major, positive force, especially in the area of human rights.
2. Many members of the U.S. business community (e.g., Chamber of Commerce, National Business Leadership Network) support ratification of the CRPD.
3.  We value and seek his evaluation of the draft reservations, understandings, and declarations that are available to place in a resolution on the CRPD.
4.  We seek his help in identifying options for strengthening text of a resolution that would be amenable to Senators with specific concerns.

People who advocate for children and for people with Alzheimer's disease should especially make effort to contact Senator Toomey.

Contact information for Senator Toomey:
Washington, D.C.: 202.224.4254
Allentown:  610.434.1444
Erie:  814.453.3010
Harrisburg:  717.382.3951
Johnstown:  814.266.5970
Philadelphia:  215.241.1090
Pittsburgh:  412.803.3501
Scranton:  570.941.3540
Website:  www.toomey.senate.gov
Facebook:  www.facebook.com/SenatorPatToomey
Twitter:  @SenToomey

The 24th anniversary of the ADA is fast approaching, on July 26, 2014. If we reach out to Senator Toomey, we may be able to get his help, break the logjam, and give ourselves one heck of an ADA birthday present.

Thank you.
Common Grounder
   

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