Thursday, April 14, 2016

Kasich, ADAPT, and the Disability Integration Act

The Disability Integration Act was introduced by Senator Schumer to, in the words of the important disability rights group ADAPT, "address the fundamental issue that people who need Long Term Services and Supports (LTSS) are forced into institutions and losing their basic civil rights. The legislation (S.2427) builds on the 25 years of work that ADAPT has done to end the institutional bias and provide seniors and people with disabilities home and community-based services (HCBS) as an alternative to institutionalization. It is the next step in our national advocacy after securing the Community First Choice (CFC) option."

Recently, the DIA has gotten into the presidential campaign, thanks to direction action by ADAPT and the work of many other disability rights advocates. Clinton came out in favor of it, affirming her full support. Then Sanders added himself as a co-sponsor of the legislation (details from The RespectAbility Report). Next, ADAPT in Rochester, NY, went to a Kasich rally to try to get him on record.

Here's what happened:

Although ADAPT was first in line, waiting out in the cold for good seats, they were forced to the back of the auditorium (and from there protested their position). After, Kasich did not go on record about the DIA, but he smiled and kept saying he'd take pictures with them and got their numbers for his staff. So far, I haven't heard about any follow up. We'll see.

Kasich was quoted as saying:
Here's what I'm going to tell you," Kasich continued. "When everybody was like, they wanted to start saying, chanting my name and quieting you, I'm not going for that. Because I'll tell you, the developmentally disabled have lived in the shadows for 100 years. Okay, I know that. I don't want that to happen to anybody. And I'm not saying that because I'm a politician or I want your vote. I'm a human being just like you are."
Kasich took pictures with the group and got their contact information so his staff could get in further touch.
"Do you know why I want to do this?" Kasich told them, after the pictures. "Because Jesus wants me to." 

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