Every four years, there is a Presidential election, and Bender Consulting Services, Inc., receives calls from people with disabilities asking for information on the impact of the new administration on the disability community. People ask how things will change and if the new President will support the disability community. Regardless of political affiliation, this volume of calls is encouraging because it signifies that people with disabilities are interested in policy decisions that will affect their lives. People with disabilities, and all Americans, have to be aware of everything going on that could impact them-positive or negative. Specifically, where can the disability community go to stay informed about what is happening now?
Connect with the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) at www.aapd.com and become a member. Follow them on Facebook and Twitter. AAPD will not only provide the latest information on disability policy efforts at the national level, but also offer updates on activities at state and local levels, allowing members to participate in grassroots organizing efforts on issues that impact them in their communities.
I am on the board of the American Association of People with Disabilities and very honored to be a Past-Chair of the Board. The Chair who preceded me was the Honorable Tony Coelho, the author of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Headquartered in Washington, DC, AAPD is the largest cross-disability membership organization in the United States. AAPD acts as an information hub for the disability civil rights community. As a bi-partisan organization, AAPD engages on an on-going basis with the White House and Congress no matter which political party controls these executive and legislative bodies.
Over 15 years ago, I went to my first AAPD Gala. At that time, the event was much smaller than the grand event we know today. I was so impressed by the advocacy work, led by AAPD, in the disability community. At that time, Andy Imparato served as CEO with a small, but powerful staff. Since that time, AAPD has continued to grow its reputation and influence as a collective voice for the disability community, led by current CEO Helena Berger, who is highly respected in the disability civil rights community. AAPD is often sought after to gain perspective on how policy issues will impact people with disabilities or how to gain the support of the disability community on these issues, resulting in a seat for AAPD at critical White House meetings and congressional hearings.
With a change of administration, the disability community has questions about how policies will impact them. How will the President and Congress move forward on the Affordable Care Act? Will there be Medicaid block grants? What about IDEA and possible changes to the ADA? Bender Consulting Services wants to connect you to the best source for accurate and comprehensive information to answer those questions—AAPD.
I encourage you to keep up with the news in our community and broader policy issues in general, as the disability community needs to have a seat at the table in discussing all issues facing our country and the world.