While Obama's track record on protecting the unborn is abysmal, there is hope that his administration will make some strides in protecting and caring for the disabled.
As the parent of a teenager with mental disabilities (bipolar, Aspergers, and ADHD), that would be a most welcome improvement. Especially here in Illinois, where one of the richest states in America has a pitiful record of spending for adults with disabilities. And now that my son is only months away from technically reaching adulthood, that's a pressing concern.
Across America, The ARC advocates for the rights of all children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. And here in the Land of Lincoln, my wife and I have very much appreciated The Arc of Illinois's advocacy on our behalf, and for our son.
Executive director Tony Paulauski, clearly pleased with the election result, sent out this e-mail to Arc members this morning:
"I first met President-Elect Obama when he was serving in the Senate. When the Democrats gained the majority in the Senate, he then became the Chairperson of the Senate Health & Human Services Committee. This is the committee that considered disability legislation. The Senator always ran a good committee meeting, with good discussion and debate. He always supported important disability legislation. He always found time to meet with me to discuss disability legislation. His pragmatic style leads me to believe his Presidency will move slowly to reach consensus on important issues like Medicaid reform, Social Security solvency, Health Care reform and Special Education. All of these issues are extremely important to people with disabilities and their families. I do not think the President will use his majority in the House and Senate to shut out the Republican minority. If the past is any indication, he will work with both sides. In the end, this will be good for everyone. One of the President-Elect Obama's key advisors is David Axelrod. David was the architect of the Obama campaign and what a campaign it was. David Axelrod is also someone I have worked with on media projects over the years. David has a daughter with disabilities and first worked with The Arc on our waiting list campaign many years ago. I believe President-Elect Obama will look favorably on important community disability initiatives. He has already become a co-sponsor of important disability legislation now pending in the Congress.
"The issues facing our new President are among the most challenging any President has ever faced. The American public has always chosen the right President for the times and Obama's time is now."