After opening his big mouth – calling the WRTA BUS SYSTEM “obsolete” and hinting it should be scrapped all together – Worcester City Councilor Gary Rosen has decided to save his political career and do a 100% turnaround. Gary is now CALLING FOR FARE-FREE BUS RIDES on city buses. Popular idea, needed by most of the WRTA riders … Let’s hope Gary gets beyond his BS slogans AND ACTUALLY LEARNS ABOUT THE PEOPLE WHO TAKE THE BUS – refugees, immigrants, the elderly, single moms with little kids, special needs folks, the working poor – AND WORKS TO HELP THEM.
The city’s bus system sucks. IT NEEDS TO BE OVERHAULED.
EMAIL GARY TO LET HIM KNOW YOUR THOUGHTS:
– Rose T.
Why I Voted Yes
From Congressman Jim McGovern
This week, I voted to impeach the President of the United States for abusing the power of his office and unconstitutionally obstructing the work of Congress.
At this important moment in our nation’s history, I can’t help but think back to my first genuine political experience — I was in middle school. It was 1972, and I was inspired by Senator George McGovern’s campaign for president — no relation, by the way.
I found him to be dedicated to the same values that I was: He wanted to end the Vietnam War, feed the hungry, and help the poor.
His vision for America gave me hope, and I wanted to help elect him president. So that year, rain or shine, I left leaflets at the homes of potential voters urging them to support his campaign. I may have been too young to cast my own ballot, but I wanted every voter to make it to the polls to help change the destructive course I thought our nation was on under Richard Nixon’s presidency.
Senator McGovern came up short (even though I helped him win Massachusetts). And I was devastated that he wasn’t given the chance to be president of the United States. But instead of giving up on our democracy, I threw myself into our political process even more. I worked on races up and down the ballot, eventually asking voters to support me in my own campaigns.
I feel honored every single day to represent the people of Massachusetts’ Second District in Congress. I’ve taken the oath of office many times now, and to this day, there is no way to describe how it feels to walk into the United States Capitol and use the power of this institution to make life better for the American people.
Throughout this impeachment process, I’ve reflected a lot on that oath of office and what it means to support and defend the Constitution, as all members of Congress have sworn to do.
I believe the Constitution is more than just words on paper. With three simple words — “We, the people” — the founders who created this country also gave us the power to write our own future. To shape our democracy daily — door by door, vote by vote, election by election.
Sadly, I believe it is no longer possible to reconcile President Trump’s abuse of power and obstruction of Congress with the oath of office I took.
The facts are clear. This president withheld congressionally-approved military aid to Ukraine, a country under siege, to extract a personal political favor. Not as a matter of US policy, but for his own selfish benefit in the 2020 presidential race. He tried to cheat and he got caught.
His actions are a clear and present danger to our democracy.
He has repeatedly rolled out the welcome mat and invited other nations to decide our elections for us.
I often think about kids today getting involved in the political process just like I did back in 1972.
What will they think if we say that the president’s actions don’t matter?
What should we tell them when, inevitably, they ask about bad actors a half-world away who were encouraged by American leaders to change the outcomes of our elections?
I’ve felt both the exhilaration of winning a campaign and the stinging defeat of losing one.
But I would take losing an election any day of the week when the American people render that verdict. I will never — never — be okay if other nations decide our leaders for us.
The fight to defend our democracy is the very meaning of America. Letting that democracy slip away or be diminished betrays the oath that each of us took to stand up for the Constitution.
The President of the United States has been impeached. But to be honest, this has never been about him. This is about us. About what kind of country we want our kids to grow up in. About protecting the precious gift of government of, by, and for the people that has been entrusted to all of us.
Democracy is not easy. It takes hard work. But it is now up to us to decide whether the United States remains a nation where no one is above the law — or whether America becomes a land run by those who act more like kings or queens, as if the law doesn’t apply to them.
In casting my vote in favor of these two impeachment articles, my conscience is clear.
I’m upholding my oath and defending our democracy. But I’m also doing something fundamentally as important: making sure the next kid who comes along and wants to make a difference in this country will know that their voice matters and their vote counts.
James P. McGovern
Member of Congress
Disability Employment Highlighted at Democratic Presidential Debate
By Lauren Appelbaum
For the first time this political season, a debate moderator, Politico’s Tim Alberta, asked a question specifically on disability policy – giving the example of Kyle, a young adult with disabilities in Iowa: “Are there specific steps you would take to help people like Kyle to become more integrated into the workforce and into their local communities?”
Out of more than 20 million working-age people with disabilities, just 7.5 million have jobs, while 70 percent would prefer to be employed. This data also shows the serious gaps that remain between disabled and non-disabled Americans: 37 percent of U.S. civilians with disabilities ages 18-64 living in the community had a job, compared to 77.2 percent for people without disabilities.
Just three candidates were given the opportunity to respond – businessmen Tom Steyer and Andrew Yang, and Sen. Elizabeth Warren. Sen. Amy Klobuchar – and potentially others off camera – also tried to answer but the moderators moved on to another topic.
Tom Steyer: Support People with Disabilities in Education and as Part of Workforce
Steyer, who was given the first opportunity to respond, spoke about supporting people with disabilities, “both in terms of education and later when they are part of the workforce.”
“That means bringing the resources to bear to make sure we are treating them fairly in school and after school to try to integrate them fully and to make them have as full a life as possible,” he continued.
Andrew Yang: “Special Needs Person” Can Be Contributor in Workplace
Yang, whose disability platform focuses on the “care for people with disabilities,” came under criticism by many members of the disability community for talking about his son with “special needs,” even after RespectAbility’s Eric Ascher, who is on the Autism spectrum himself, spoke with Yang last month about better language to use. However, people not in the disability community found it powerful when he asked the debate audience if they had family members with disabilities – although he phrased it as “family members with special needs or Autism.”
Terms like “special needs” and “differently-abled” can be seen by some as patronizing and ableistic. Using these phrases may seem on the surface to convey that someone with a disability has positive qualities about him or her. However, terms like these tend to be euphemistic, and frequently are not used by the people to whom they refer. In addition, people with disabilities, in the U.S., are protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act. People with “special needs” are not.
In answering the question of specifics, Yang said: “We go to employers and say, hey, this ‘special needs person’ can be a contributor in your workplace, which is correct. But that’s not the point. We need to stop confusing economic value and human value to be able to say to our kids and Kyle that you have intrinsic value.”
Yang then discussed his signature proposal, a freedom dividend of $1,000, as a solution. However, while people with disabilities who receive Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) alone would receive the dividend, those who receive both SSDI and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) would not receive it. People would have to choose between SSDI and SSI if they want this universal basic income.
Elizabeth Warren: Fully Fund IDEA, Ensure Accessible Housing and Fair Pay
Sen. Warren talked about her prior career as a special education teacher, where she was proud to “recognize the work of every human being.” She called for the full funding of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), which is something that the Democratic candidates are in agreement on. IDEA, which covers educational funding for children with disabilities from birth through high school graduation or age 21, whichever comes first, has yet to be fully funded by the federal government since it was first passed in 1975.
Sen. Warren also talked about the importance of accessible and independent housing opportunities. “People who want to live independently, people who have disabilities, will have housing available to them,” she pledged.
She also called for paying people with disabilities fairly. Currently, 14C and sub-minimum wage programs allow people with disabilities to be legally paid as low as a dollar an hour.
Sen. Warren also has disability rights plan on her website that goes into further detail on these issues.
While Sen. Warren was the only candidate on the debate stage to offer real policy solutions, the end of her statement was cringe-worthy to the disability community, referring to people with disabilities as “the least of thy brethren” – implying that disabled people are “less than.”
Julian Castro Via Twitter: Fully Fund IDEA, Expand SSI and SSDI, Ensure Accessible Housing
In addition, Julian Castro, who did not qualify for the debate stage but was responding to all questions via Twitter, tweeted: “As president, I’ll fight to empower and improve the lives of individuals with disabilities – in housing, jobs, education, accessibility, and elsewhere. I’ll make sure there are no second-class citizens in this county.” He then linked to his plan for equality for people with disabilities before adding: “My plan includes fully funding IDEA, expanding SSI and SSDI benefits, ensuring sufficient stock of accessible housing units, and expanding Medicare for long-term services. People with disabilities deserve full equality – and a president who will prioritize disability issues.”
Pete Buttigieg’s Disability Plan Calls for National Apprenticeship Programs
While Mayor Pete Buttigieg did not have an opportunity to respond, his disability plan does address disability employment specifically and concretely. Both Mayor Buttigieg and Sen. Warren advocate for national apprenticeship programs as part of their disability policy plans; these programs would be for the broader population, not just people with disabilities. Mayor Buttigieg’s plan also includes an executive order to make the federal government a model employer of people with disabilities and raise the percentage of federal procurement dollars that go to small businesses owned by underrepresented groups, including people with disabilities. His goal is to double the number of employed Americans with disabilities.
Disability on the Campaign Trail
Elliott sings Cat!♥️🎶♥️🎶♥️:
And Please! Love and DO RIGHT BY ALL ANIMALS THIS XMAS AND IN THE NEW YEAR!