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Letter From Matt Cohen

There are many reasons to be concerned about the political life of our country.  The rights of many different groups in our society are threatened by the profound tilt to the right and intensifying effort to undermine basic democratic values and explicit constitutional and legislative protections.  Ultimately, these threats are threats to all of us.  This should be grounds to mobilize and do all we can to preserve our democratic values and the democracy itself.

I generally try to keep my personal political views separate from my law firm activities.  But the state of the country calls for action that is beyond business as usual.  For families of children and adults with disabilities, like other groups being attacked and marginalized by right-wing Republican power structure, and by Trump and his supporters, there is special reason for our concern.  

Here are SEVEN IMPORTANT REASONS TO PREVENT Republican control of the Senate and House:

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More conservative judges will be confirmed by the U.S. Senate, leading to more court decisions hostile to kids with disabilities and their families and narrowing the rights available under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, Section 504, and the ADA;

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Reduced funding for public education, vocational training, and community-based supports for individuals with disabilities;

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Reduced support and funding for enforcement of the disability rights laws, by limiting or reducing the budgets of the U.S. Department of Education, the Office for Civil Rights, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the U.S. Department of Justice, particularly the Civil Rights Division;

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Reduced support for voter access laws and increased barriers to accessing curbside and vote by mail provisions, which adversely impact people with disabilities, poor people, and people of color;

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Limits on the scope and funding for the Affordable Care Act (Obama Care), Medicare and Medicaid, all health coverage programs that are disproportionately important for children and adults with disabilities;

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Reduced regulation of air and water pollution, which is an existential threat to all of us due to climate change, but poses heightened risks for people with disabilities that may already have vulnerabilities due to asthma, allergies, and other medical conditions that are caused or aggravated by pollution

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Increased support for charter school and voucher programs that tend to channel public funds towards those schools and away from neighborhood public schools that must serve all students, leaving public schools to serve the students that often have the greatest needs, but with less money to do so.

I strongly urge my family, friends, colleagues, and clients to get involved in fighting back now!   One way to get involved is to volunteer to support candidates in close races.  One option that many candidates are utilizing is remote phone support, which means you can support a candidate even if you don’t live in that jurisdiction.  Perhaps the most important way to do that is to support DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATES FOR THE HOUSE AND SENATE in order to ensure that the Democrats maintain and hopefully expand their control of House and Senate in 2022 and 2024. 

You can help by getting involved in the campaigns and/or providing financial support.  I especially encourage you to provide support for those DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATES THAT ARE EITHER AT RISK OF LOSING A SEAT THAT IS CURRENTLY HELD BY DEMOCRATS AND THOSE DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATES THAT HAVE A CHANCE TO FLIP a seat currently held by a Republican.  

Here are some things you can do to support Democratic candidates:

  • Vote on election day!
  • If you aren’t registered, get registered and vote!
  • Encourage all your friends to register and vote!
  • Volunteer to work for Democratic Candidates to get people registered and to vote!
  • Donate to Democratic candidates. Considering visiting https://secure.actblue.com/ and searching for candidate names to find campaigns.
  • Here are two sites where you can get information on volunteering in your area and/or in key swing contests:

– Matt Cohen

Resources

Important Resources

Political Issues of importance to the special ed and disability rights community:

As the Congress is considering additional legislation to provide more financial support to the schools, the states, the unemployed and all of us in general, there is an effort being pursued by school districts with support of some Republican legislators, to pass legislation that would create immunity for school districts for failing to meet their obligations to students with disabilities. I believe that this will be a huge “free pass” for schools to allow them to cutback on both the quantity and quality of special education services for illegitimate reasons.

Please contact your Congressperson and Senators and urge them to oppose waivers of special education IDEA safeguards. You can find how to contact them below…

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DeVos demands 'fully operational' schools in the fall: 'Not a matter of if'

Federal Govt./Department of Education Pushing to Reopen Schools. This will potentially harm kids with disabilities by forcing them to come to school when they may be especially vulnerable to catching the virus due to autoimmune issues and/or have greater difficulty than other students with complying with mask and social distance rule (MC comments in italics)

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DeVos’s claim that children are ‘stoppers’ of covid-19