Americans with disabilities

One of our nation’s most cherished values is that all of its people are created equal and are given equal opportunity to pursue their dreams and ambitions. For Americans with disabilities, however, including many of our returning veterans, this ideal is stubbornly out of reach. Transportation and physical barriers throughout much of the country, exclude individuals from daily life while an inflexible healthcare system stifles the independence of those who desire to pursue their dreams. I believe that Americans with disabilities should have what President George H.W. Bush called “the opportunity to blend fully and equally into the rich mosaic of the American mainstream.”

As your Congresswoman, I will work to...

Break down barriers to everyday life. Physical barriers, such as steps, doorways, and inaccessible restrooms render many workplaces, restaurants, shops, and places of worship off limits to people with disabilities who may otherwise want to work, worship, or spend their money, while the costs to retrofit these buildings may be prohibitive for families or small businesses to afford. Rather than threatening small businesses with lawsuits if they can’t afford to comply, the Americans with Disabilities Act should be a funded mandate. I will work to create grants for small and medium businesses, schools and other organizations to design and improve their infrastructure so it is inclusive to all members of society. We need to tear these barriers down and accelerate the inclusion of people with disabilities into our communities.

Increase employment opportunities. A job is more than just a source of income, it is also the cornerstone for freedom and a fulfilling, independent life in which one is able to help build their community. Unfortunately, only 28% of people with disabilities are employed. I will work to expand career training and ensure that employers have the resources needed to remove barriers to hiring people with disabilities. I will also ensure that the federal government sets an example by hiring qualified individuals with disabilities to positions in which they can give back to their country while gaining valuable work experience.

Ensure access to education and transportation. Access to education and transportation is vital for everyone in our district. For people with disabilities, however, school budget cuts, legacy educational buildings, and public transportation systems can themselves be a barrier to mainstream integration. When in Congress, I will push for a stronger investment in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, and set aside funding to bring schools in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. I will also push for a reinvestment in our infrastructure that expands accessible public transportation services.

Promote independence through improved healthcare. Just last year, Tom McClintock voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act and cut nearly $1 trillion from Medicaid. Had he been successful, millions of people with disabilities who receive care at home would be forced to move to institutions or nursing homes, a situation President Ronald Reagan sought to avoid when he signed the Home and Community-Based Services provision into Medicaid. As your Congresswoman, I will fight to preserve and expand access to affordable healthcare, benefits and services that will enable our neighbors with disabilities to get the home care they need to thrive within their communities.