Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein made stops in Austin yesterday. Before an event at Huston-Tillotson University Monday evening, Stein met with a small crowd at a public library downtown. The event was specifically geared toward Texans who are disabled.
“And in the same way that we are diverse culturally we are also diverse in terms of our abilities,” Stein told the group. “And, in recognizing and respecting our differences as part of what enriches us, each person in their own way is contributing to us.”
Stein also took questions. She was asked about Medicaid payments for people who help the physically disabled do things like get out of bed and go outside.
A couple of folks said the state is paying these health care workers too little – so help is harder to come by. Stein was also asked about the rise in housing prices in Austin.
“We are really at the breaking point right now as a society and the disabled community is kind of the chief victim here as sort of the most vulnerable,” she said.
This wasn’t strictly an event aimed at getting people to know about Stein’s thoughts on disability rights, though.
It was also about getting out the disabled vote – as well as organizing it.
Jeff Miller with Disability Rights Texas says he’s working with groups all around the state.
“Part of what we are trying to do with the Rev Up campaign is making sure that people with disabilities are registered to and able to actually vote,” he says. “The other part is for people with disabilities to realize the political power that people with disabilities could have if they voted as a group.”
David Wittie with ADAPT Texas told the group this is a tough task because so many disabled folks are institutionalized in Texas.
“That means they are locked up in a nursing homes or some state school, or some other state supported living center that doesn’t really encourage opportunities to become civic-minded citizens and participate in voting,” he says.
Last month Wittie’s group held a registration drive for people who are blind. It’s part of the same effort to make sure people who are disabled aren’t staying home this November.