2012 elections: questions for state office candidates

Published 4:33 pm Saturday, August 25, 2012

The 2012 elections will mean many new faces in the Minnesota Legislature.

All 201 seats for the Minnesota House and Senate are open, thanks to the redrawing of legislative districts due to redistricting. At least one-third of those elected this November will be new; many of them will not be familiar with the needs of people with disabilities and their families and the supports they receive.

Help make them aware of disability issues before the election with the following questions.

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•Minnesota’s system of community supports for people with disabilities will undergo many changes in the future as our population ages and state budgets continue to be tight. What would you do to protect those programs that help people with disabilities and their families live successfully in the community, including those that help people with disabilities find places of their own to live and competitive jobs?

•State legislators will almost certainly face a budget deficit in 2013. What measures do you support to balance the state budget and still protect disability supports? Do you support raising revenues? If so, which ones would you increase?

•What would you do to ensure that state laws and rules continue to protect the rights of students with disabilities and their families to receive necessary educational services?

•What measures would you take to reduce bullying and help make our schools safe and welcoming places for all students?

•How would you support students with challenging behaviors so they can remain in our local schools?

•Thousands of Minnesotans with disabilities still wait for supports to help them live independently. What would you do to reduce this waiting list, given our current state budget realities?

•One in 88 Americans has autism spectrum disorder. What would you do to ensure that Minnesotans with ASD receive services early in life that help them thrive, necessary health care and behavioral services, and supports to help adults live more independently and find jobs?

•Many Minnesota families pay fees that they cannot afford for the services that help their children stay at home and live in the community. What would you do to make them more affordable?



Upcoming Events

•Sept. 16: Dad’s Belgian Waffle Breakfast, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Mower County Senior Center. Call The Arc for tickets at 507-433-8994 or stop in.

•Sept. 18: How you and your kids with disabilities can be empowered to handle bullying workshop, 6:30 p.m. at the Austin Public Library.

•Oct. 6: USEM’s Customer Appreciation to Benefit The Arc of Mower County.

Oct. 15: The Down Syndrome Connection Pumpkin Party, 6 to 8 p.m.

Jamey Helgeson is the program director at The Arc Mower County and can be reached at jamey@arcmowercounty.org or by calling 507-433-8994, extension 102. You can also visit our website (www.arcmowercounty.org) and follow us on Facebook (www.facebook.com/arcmc) or Like me on Facebook (www.facebook.com/JameyTheArcofMC).