News, Views, and Information about Disability

Disability News, Views, Information, and Literature

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Senate Candidates Dill, King Address Homeless; Disability a Major Factor

Ability Maine posted previously that Senate candidates Cynthia Dill (Democrat) and Angus King (Independent) addressed a forum sponsored by the Disability Rights Center while Charlie Summers (Republican) was absent. The same thing happened at a forum to discuss homelessness on October 11 in Portland -- a forum where the topic of disability was raised frequently.

The event, sponsored by Homeless Voices for Justice and the Preble Street social services agency, included a tour of the facility, a meeting with staff and clients, and a question-and-answer period with the candidates. According to the Portland Press Herald's coverage,
Dill promised to be a strong advocate for spending federal dollars on programs for the poor and those in need, rather than on wealthy and powerful interests that can afford lobbyists. She said she stood up for the poor in the state Legislature and would do the same in Washington.
King focused on the costs to citizens associated with homelessness:
King said he wants Congress to do its job, reduce the federal deficit and stabilize the budget so that affordable-housing programs and other services are no longer in danger of deep cuts.
 According to the Portland Press Herald, a member of the audience said that she's stuck in a homeless shelter until her disability benefits are approved, which might take a year. "I cannot survive that long," she said.

Another disabled Mainer, Kenneth Tilley, 61, said he was glad that the candidates saw where he and others slept on cots each night: "No matter where you come from or where you were, everybody in America has a chance to be homeless."

Both candidates, as well as many advocates and homeless persons, criticized Summers for not attending, saying that that was an indicator to them about his lack of care for homeless Mainers.

Note: Some quoted in the article, as well as dozens of comments discussing it, are concerned that King and Dill will split the liberal and progressive votes and giving Summers the win as a result.

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