Thursday, November 12, 2015

Iowans with Disabilities, Friends, and Families: Engagement Time Is Here!

Engagement time is here. I know you know that. I can’t believe we still have so many candidates– 16.  My source was RespectAbility USA and its presidential campaign blog – RespectAbility teams are on the ground in Iowa and New Hampshire interacting with all campaigns.

Of course, being a political junkie, I found out a few things myself too. For example, there was a news clip, I believe on CNN, where Jeb Bush commented on how meeting and being educated by a parent with a child with a significant disability helped him understand and improve Florida state services to people with developmental disabilities. That story is also part of his bio. It’s available on his website – And lo and behold, five days (11/7/16) later on the Tonight Show with Stephen Colbert, John Kasich included people with a developmental disabilities in a list of people government should assist. We are starting to see sign language interpreters at big events associated with the Clinton and Sanders campaigns. I am doing research on whether campaigns are captioning their videos.

What do these random points imply? Candidates are going to invest time and energy in groups who help separate them from the pack. We represent 56 million – that’s a pretty big group. We also have many friends and families. However, candidates will not “discover” us unless we engage them and share our concerns and priorities. In fact, if we were to hold a candidates’ debate on disability issues right now we would probably be seeing 12 or more “deer-in-the-headlights” expressions. So please take the time to go to town halls, other events to which candidates come, and to the caucuses (2/1/2016).  The Desmoines Register keeps a calendar on candidates' schedules –

Those of you who live in Iowa are very important to the rest of us. What you do to elevate issues that are important to people disabilities will affect the status of these issues in other states. Below is contact information for the senior person in Iowa for each candidate. Please connect with the campaigns in which you have a strong interest. Ask them questions and tell them what is on your mind. Weigh in on the economy, tax reform, the cost of college, raising the minimum wage, and immigration, entitlement reform and how their proposals would work or not work for people with disabilities. In reality we are not a niche group. We are mainstream America! Those of you in Iowa need to let the candidates know this.   The contact information is below, please use it.

 Iowa State Director
 E-mail address
Bush (R)
 Annie Kelly
Carson (R)
Ryan Rhodes
Christie (R)
Phil Valenziano

Clinton (D)
Matt Paul
Cruz (R)
Bryan English

Fiorina (R)
Chris Rants
Graham (R)
Tracie Gibler

Huckabee (R)
Sarah Huckabee Sanders

Jindal (R)
Matt Horihan

Kasich (R)
Cory Crowley

O’Malley (D)
Jake Oeth
Patacki (R)
No information found.
Paul (R)
Steve Grubbs

Rubio (R)
Jack Whitver

Sanders (D)
Robert Becker

Santorum (R)
Walt Rogers

Trump (R)
Chuck Laudner

Thank you.

Common Grounder

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