Midterms Part 1: People with Disabilities Vote!

I can’t even tell you how excited I am about voting in two weeks. I know a lot of people like early voting which is super convenient and easy, but I like going to the polls. It is so cool to roll in and check in on the big registration list. I have my dad or a helper take my signature name stamp and stamp next to my name on the big, long list. Then we take the slip of paper over to go pick up my ballot. Then we go over to the wheelchair accessible voting booth. I have who I want to vote for programmed into my communication device and let my helper know who to mark down as my choices. When we’re done, we go over and put the ballot in the ballot sucker upper machine. I put the “I voted” sticker on my chair or on me. I feel awesome! And proud! Even if my candidates don’t win – I’ve done my part.

If you have a disability, you CAN and SHOULD vote! It is our right! Here’s more information from Arc Minnesota about voting in 2018. Our voices matter!

Check back tomorrow for my post about who I’m voting for and why.

Governor’s Forum on 9/13 cancelled

I just got this cancellation yesterday for the Governor’s Forum that I was looking forward to going to on Thursday.

“Unfortunately, event cosponsors have had to cancel the event due to lack of confirmation from the candidates. We are still working to ensure that candidates for Minnesota Governor address and prioritize issues of importance to members of the disability community, and hope all of you will connect with candidates to share your personal stories as well.”

I feel disappointed that I won’t be able to hear from the candidates about where they stand on issues that truly matter to me as a young adult who depends on support services and Medical Assistance to live in my community.

As I said in my last post, we need a Governor and legislature that will do everything they can to protect services so that people with disabilities receive the care and services they depend on. Ask candidates what they will do to protect health care, Medicaid, and support services for people with disabilities.

We need to make our voices heard so that candidates know how important these issues are to the disability community!

Justin reaching out to air-fist bump with Senator DurenbergerI’m excited to read former Senator Dave Durenberger’s new book, When Republicans Were Progressive. He was most proud of the bi-partisan work to pass the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). I was so honored to meet him and present with him at last year’s MN Capitol Grand Opening Celebration (YouTube: my speech and Senator Durenberger’s speech). Listen to the Minnesota Public Radio interview with Dave Durenberger. It is a bipartisan book! Launch party is on October 16th!

Tax Cuts and Jobs Act

Just say no

I have fought and will continue to stand against every single attack to cut Medicaid because of these three words – freedom to choose. People with disabilities should have the freedom to choose how to live their lives and I can only do that with the help of Medicaid.

Justin with I voted sticker on next to Vote Here sign and US FlagThe Medicaid funding I receive helps me live in my home, hire support staff, and pay medical costs not covered by my family’s private insurance. This support matters! It has made it possible for my parents to work. They have not been bankrupted by high medical costs. I have received medical treatment, equipment and care that helps me be more independent and make an impact on the world.

There is so much in this tax bill that could harm the most vulnerable in our communities. If this tax plan goes through and has the negative impacts to Medicaid that are expected, I am terrified  that many of us with disabilities who need Medicaid to live in our communities will lose our freedom to choose how to live our lives because the services we depend on will be severely cut back.

Call your senators and tell them to vote NO to this tax bill!

Here is the Arc statement on the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act

We vehemently oppose this bill and the threats it poses to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities”

Washington, DC – The Arc released the following statement in response to the House of Representatives passing theTax Cuts and Jobs Act on 11/16/2017:

“The Arc has a longstanding position that tax policy should raise sufficient revenues to finance programs that support people with disabilities to live and work in the community. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act does the opposite. By reducing revenue by at least $1.5 trillion, the bill increases the pressure to turn next to cut Medicaid and other programs that are critical to the lives of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

“We vehemently oppose this bill and the threats it poses to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. We now turn our attention to the Senate, which is considering legislation that will also increase the deficit and repeal a portion of the Affordable Care Act that would undermine the entire law. The disability community has fought against threats to vital programs and won several times this year, and we are prepared to do it again,” said Peter Berns, CEO of The Arc.