Will your voice count in the 2018 Election?

Photo by Sabeel Ahammed from Pexels

Federal and local Midterm Elections are mere months away. Have you been paying attention? Do you know what is at stake?  If you haven’t, and if you don’t, then it’s time to get to work…because your life may very well depend on it.

If you have a disability, a chronic illness or a pre-existing condition, as it’s referred to these days, you do not have the luxury of sitting back silently as your legislators make decisions about your life. This upcoming election is indeed about your very existence.

There has been a lot of recent chatter on reforming our nation’s social safety net…this includes Social Security, Medicaid, Housing Vouchers, and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), among others. Chances are you know someone who is, or are yourself the beneficiary of one or several of these benefit programs.

What would you do if reforms made it more difficult to live in a safe, affordable home, or to put a healthy meal on the table, or to hire home health aides, or to access public transportation, or to see a doctor?

As a disability advocate, I know these things are not easy as it is. But, have you thought about what you would do if any one of these programs wasn’t there?

Years ago, the ONLY place for a person with a disability was an institution. Jobs? Forget about it! The hard work of advocates and legislators have made living and working in the community possible. People with disabilities are contributing, now, more than ever! We have made great strides over the decades. We must not step backwards, but keep our eyes on a future that values ALL people, and invests in their potential, rather than seeing them as a burden.

If you rely on federally and locally funded programs to help you live and work in the community, you need to pay attention. You need to understand what is at stake. You need to vote!

On Tuesday, November 6, 2018 you will have the opportunity to choose an array of local and federal officials (most notably the United States House of Representatives). Do not squander this opportunity. You have just under four months to educate yourself on the issues and candidates.

Primaries are already underway in some states, but most candidates will not be confirmed until near the end of summer. As the election moves forward, read as much as you can on every candidate that is in your state or district.

Here is a great resource on finding the candidates that best match your needs and views (NOTE: this website will be updated as the primaries move forward):

Vote Smart

In the meantime, read up on the issues that impact you, as an American with a disability:

AAPD REV UP Issues Guide

Also, be sure to check your state’s voting policies and ensure that you have everything you need to vote:

Rock The Vote: Get Ready to Vote

The future is ours, but only if we work for it!

We will be back in the coming weeks and months with more information and resources on the upcoming election. Until then, let’s get to work!

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