11/16/18 PRESS ALERT FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
For More Information:
Bruce Darling (585) 370-6690
Marilee Adamski-Smith (715) 204-4152
WHO: National ADAPT
WHAT: ADAPT supports Congresswoman DeGette in House leadership fight and applauds her commitment to the life and liberty of disabled Americans
WHERE: Denver CO
WHEN: Friday, November 16th, 2018
Members of the disability rights organization ADAPT gathered from across the country and took the unusual step today of wading into the Democratic leadership race by publicly supporting the bid by Colorado Representative Diana Degette to be the House Majority Whip. “We look at this leadership contest for the top three positions in the House of Representatives and in the current leadership we see no commitment to the disability community. Representatives Pelosi, Hoyer and Clyburn have steadfastly refused to support the right of Disabled American’s to live in freedom by refusing to co-sponsor the Disability Integration Act (DIA),” said ADAPT organizer Dawn Russell. “In great contrast, Representative Degette has been one of our greatest champions. She has cosponsored DIA, the Empower Care Act, which would help disabled people transition out of nursing homes, and she has committed to working with the Disability Community to eliminate the requirement for Electronic Visit Verification, a policy which violates our privacy and makes it harder for us to recruit attendants. Whenever we have had an issue, she has taken up for our community and that is why we need her to be the next Majority Whip!”
ADAPT which came into the spotlight during last year’s healthcare fight, has never involved itself in leadership contests but the group’s organizers from around the country felt that the need to pass DIA and fight continuing institutional abuses around the country meant they would need to rethink that. “People are dying while waiting to get out of nursing homes. We need someone in House Leadership who respects and supports our constitutional rights to life and liberty,“ said ADAPT organizer Anita Cameron. “Representative Degette is the only one in this going for any of these top three posts who understands our community and has been willing to fight to ensure our rights. That’s what we need in leadership!”
ADAPT has a long history of being nonpartisan and holding both parties accountable, working with Republicans and Democrats to pass legislation, most notably the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and protesting members of both parties when they oppose what they are doing as happened last year when the House passed an ADA notification bill. “This is not a partisan move for us; it’s about recognizing and promoting the commitment one leader has shown in support of our right to live in freedom,” said ADAPT organizer Mike Oxford. “We don’t normally do this but Diana Degette’s unwavering support for our constitutional rights made this an exception.
Dissatisfaction with the other leadership candidates may also have played a role in ADAPT’s decision. “Nany Pelosi has done nothing for our Community; she won’t sign our bill, she makes us lots of promises that she consistently fails to follow through on; Steny Hoyer loves to tout his support of the ADA but not only does he refuse to support our right to live in freedom, he then lies to us about why,” said ADAPT organizer Josue Rodrigues. “Diana Degette has been everything they are not: Honest, committed, and more than just talk.”
ADAPT is hoping that its stance will encourage Disabled Americans from across the country to call their Representatives and urge them to support Degette’s candidacy. They intend to reach out to people through their chapters and other networks.