The MN-CCD Grassroots and Communications committee worked hard over the summer months to plan a series of 10 candidate events for this fall. To date, we have hosted three candidate picnics and five candidate forums across the state of Minnesota. Each event has been a great opportunity for disability community members to learn about and connect with those candidates running to represent them in the state legislature – and not to mention a lot of fun.
The final days of summer found MN-CCD grassroots committee members grilling hot dogs and talking policy with legislative candidates at our three outdoor picnics at Boom Island, Kingsley Commons and Powderhorn Park.
Soon after the picnics wrapped up, we hit the road for a candidate forum in Duluth Minnesota, where all seven candidates for District 7 answered questions ranging from how they would address the issue of disability employment in Duluth to what ideas they have for improving public transportation.
On Sept 16th the two candidates running for the position of MN Secretary of State met and answered questions regarding the disability community and voting, and touched on many other interesting issues along the way. Coverage of this event can be found here.
Candidates for the House and Senate in District 28 met on Tuesday September 21 at Jordan Towers in Red Wing for a Candidate Forum focusing on disability and aging issues. This well attended event touched on the state budget deficit, unemployment and how candidates see the coming age wave of baby boomers. Other cosponsors for this event in Red Wing included REM MN, ProAct, Opportunity Services, and Potters Ridge Assisted Living. The event was highlighted in the local newspaper in Candidates square off on taxes, jobs. On this same night, candidates for the House and Senate in District 15 also met, this time at the Whitney Senior Center in St. Cloud. Coverage of this forum is available here.
Most recently, on Thursday Sep 23 candidates for District 41 met on a very wet night in Edina. The weather and traffic may have made it difficult for some to attend the forum, so luckily the forum is available on video. Sit back, grab a bowl of popcorn, and enjoy!
Only 2 more MN CCD Candidate Forums remain – September 30th from 6 – 7:30, Lake Elmo- District 56 at Lake Elmo Inn Event Center & October 7 from 6 – 7:30, Marshall-District 21 at the Adult Community Center. More details are available here. Join us if you are able – it’s a great way to become a more informed voter on Nov 2nd!
Many of you are already aware that last Tuesday, Aug. 31, Governor Pawlenty announced an executive order requiring all state agencies to send any federal grant requests related to federal healthcare reform through his office, noting that he would likely not allow these grant requests to move forward unless they are required by law. The federal healthcare reform legislating that was passed this past year contains a variety of opportunities for states to apply for specific healthcare reform grants from the federal government. At this point it is unclear exactly how much this action will cost the state of Minnesota, but some estimates place this number as high as tens of millions of dollars in lost potential grant money. You can view a Star Tribune story on the decision here.
Minnesota’s disability community will feel the impact of this decision. First of all, federal monies that would have come to MN in the form of specific healthcare reform grants would have lessened the strain on Minnesota’s overall Medicaid budget. Secondly, a number of the state grant opportunities outlined in federal healthcare reform legislation were designed to support states in their work to serve individuals with disabilities in their homes and communities, rather than in institutions. The inability of Minnesota to move forward with applying for these grants will negatively impact our state’s progress in this area.
As a specific example, federal healthcare reform legislation included a $200,000 planning grant for a Money Follows the Person program that would have supported states in helping individuals with disabilities to move out of nursing homes and into the community by providing an increased federal Medicaid match for the individual’s first year in community services. A Minnesota state agency’s plan to move forward with applying for this grant was stopped as a result of this executive order.
MN-CCD leaders will continue to meet with state officials and other stakeholders to discuss this issue, so stay tuned for updates.
– Anni Simons
Please remember to bring a couple of dollars with you when you come to Boom Island on Monday. All of the public parking is pay-only, one dollar an hour. We’ll have volunteers available to help you figure it out and we do have a limited supply of free parking passes if you really need one. See you there!
Our first MN CCD POLICY GRILL is all set for Monday.
Please come and help us kick-off our fall grassroots events season in style. Enjoy some summer weather, east some food and meet Minneapolis candidates for the Minnesota Legislature. Plus, it’s a great warm up for the State Fair which opens the following Thursday.
On the menu will be: hamburgers, all-beef hot dogs, chips, pasta salad, fruit, cookies, soda pop and water. Jeff Nachbar from the Brain Injury Association of Minnesota will be running the grill and we hope to see you there!
2010 is an exciting year, the persons elected to the Minnesota legislature will play an important role in Minnesota’s future. So let’s take advantage of the summer weather, enjoy some great food from the grill, get to know the candidates from your district, and learn where they stand on the issues that matter most to you.
Monday August 23 • Boom Island Park, Area C
724 Sibley St. NE Minneapolis / 5-7pm
Tuesday August 31 • Kingsley Commons
4550 N Humboldt Ave, Minneapolis / 5-7pm
Thursday September 2 • Powderhorn Park
3400 15th Avenue S, Minneapolis / 5-7pm
Join us so you can make a more informed decision on November 2.
Contact Anni S at 651-523-0823 ext. 112 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Take a look at this interesting article which touches on many of the issues we in the disability advocacy community are currently discussing: New York Times Article