Friday, November 11, 2016

What about Disability Expertise in the Trump Administration?

Historically appointing people to fill political jobs in disability-related positions, regardless of the party who wins a presidential election, takes a long time to fill -- 12 to 18 months on average. On the one hand, that suggests less than optimal status in the food chain. On the other hand, it gives us some time to encourage smart, thoughtful, knowledgeable, and experienced people to apply.

What would President-Elect Trump do related to disability policy? On the one hand, that's a hard question to answer given the scarcity of substantive detail even remotely connected to disability policy or possible initiatives. He has made strong, affirmative statements about assisting vets, so maybe reviewing them will give us some ideas. He has said he would block grant Medicaid, giving states control of it, so perhaps we should invest in strengthening disability advocacy coalitions in individual states. He is all about growing jobs here in America, so whatever mechanisms that emerge to make that happen, people who represent people with disabilities need to be at the table. Perhaps someone needs to tell him that undoing some executive orders related to employment of persons with disabilities would be counter productive. His positions on education matters are not part of a comprehensive plan, but the ones we know about would definitely give states more discretion and control and give parents more choice. Again, strong voices in individual states advocating for the right processes and outcomes will be most necessary.

The things I have identified are not inherently horrific. It's a matter of how they are done. It's a matter of whom President-Elect Trump HIRES to steer the disability ship. I encourage him to hire people who believe, have experience with, and would practice these principles when placed in positions of power:

1. Take a serious look at what is before you attempt to alter it.
2. If you decide ultimately to alter it, get broad input from end-user stakeholders.
3. Don't make things more complicated by always believing 50 ways of doing something is better than one way of doing something.
4. Protect with strong conviction the disability rights laws that are on the books.

If you believe and practice these principles, you are someone President-Elect Trump could use in his administration. You could do a lot of good. The worse that could happen is that he would fire you or you would quit. But, before that you could shape things in ways that would pay off for people with disabilities. Doing so, even only for a while, would be worth it.

Common Grounder

Monday, November 7, 2016

Time to Choose

The key word in this election is change. How you view it. How you define it. How you think it will happen. What will result because of it.

Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump agree on one thing -- they each pronounce that they will bring about the change that everyone needs and wants. Of course, that is debatable. Some things are critical -- They each need a Congress with which they can work. They each need a nine-person bench on the Supreme Court. They each need smart people around them who can get things done. They each need to avoid non-productive distractions.

I own property in Virginia so I voted by absentee ballot. What did I weigh in reaching my decision?

What is most important -- experience in or out of government?
What is most helpful -- experience negotiating based on facts and a sense of desirable outcomes or negotiating using raw power and all that comes with it?
What is most essential -- knowing how to prepare for the anticipated and the unanticipated or having people around you, you think have the answers because you picked them and you are good at that?
What should be done with health care -- correct a flawed system or start over?
What should be done about the economy -- let it flourish naturally or tick off every company that has business overseas?
What should be done about education -- listen and build consensus before acting or close the Department of Education?
What should be done about security -- recognize where we are and document it for the American people or start shutting out people, shrink our ally pool, and eliminate ISIS in all the countries it resides, using brute force.

I want to wake up the day after the inauguration with a president that supports the Constitution, cares about people and their circumstances, cuts deals within the law, has learned from past mistakes, knows how to react to criticism as a mature adult, and has canceled her Twitter account.

Common Grounder