ID Action Newsletter Fall 2012

Issue 1, 11/12/2012

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Articles in This Issue:


Importance of Voting - Your Vote Counts!

The ID Action team has been on the road over the last several weeks providing trainings on the voting process to Iowans affected by disability. The training focuses on overcoming the most common barriers people say keep them from voting. Those barriers range from not knowing if they are eligible to vote and concerns about how to get good information about candidates running for office to the most common barrier, which is people thinking their vote doesn’t really matter.  

History has shown that people with disabilities vote at a lower rate than those without disabilities. In Iowa, in the 2008 election, for every ten people without disabilities that voted only nine people with disabilities voted. That gap can make a significant impact on the outcome of an election.

Millions of votes are cast nationally in each general election, so often it is more difficult for people to understand the importance of a single vote. It is easier to see the impact at the state and local level where many decisions are made that directly affect funding and/or programs.

For example, in the 2010 election, Iowa State Senator Mark Chelgren won the district 47 Senate race by only 10 votes. With thousands of votes cast in that election, it is a great example of how each vote counts and makes a difference.   

Did you know… if people with disabilities voted at the same rate nationally as people without disabilities, approximately 10 million more votes would be cast? Think about the impact that could have!

Election Day is November 6 and the polls are open from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Check the Secretary of State’s website at www.sos.iowa.gov to find your polling location or call your County Auditor’s office.

You can make a difference – Vote!

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Advocate’s Guide to Mental Health & Disability Services Redesign

In early 2012, the Iowa Legislature passed a bill that made big changes in the state’s adult mental health and disability services system. The legislation (Senate File 2315) changed the way the state’s mental health and disability services system is funded and managed, shifting greater responsibility to the state and away from the 99-county system. It also set a new menu of “core services” that must be available to Iowans with disabilities no matter where they live.

ID Action recently published the Advocate’s Guide to Mental Health & Disability Services Redesign. This publication takes an objective look at the facts surrounding this legislation to provide advocates with information and opportunities to influence change.

ID Action is holding Community Conversations throughout the state to support local discussions on this issue. If you would like to hold an event in your community, please contact ID Action at 866-432-2846 or contactus@idaction.org.  You can download the guide by going to www.infonetiowa.org.

Please subscribe to infoNET at www.infonetiowa.org. You will get the latest news on happenings with the Iowa legislature.

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Koki Nakagawa - "Just be Yourself"

One piece of advice that Koki Nakagawa would give to encourage other self-advocates or those that want to become better self-advocates is to "Just be yourself." He said that while there will always be ups and downs it is important for self-advocates to be persistent and patient.

 Koki has been an active self-advocate for many years, starting out with the Arc of Story County in a leadership training program and now as a member of the Iowa Developmental Disabilities Council (DD Council).  As a DD Council member Koki is excited to gain a better understanding of the different state agencies and how they work together as well as discussing the services and supports needed for those with developmental disabilities.

 This year Koki has attended several conferences including the Self-Advocates Becoming Empowered (SABE) conference in St. Paul, MN. SABE is a national organization that is focused on ensuring equality for people with disabilities.   Koki also attended a Self-Advocacy Summit in Chicago last April.  As a member of the Iowa team he presented on the state of self-advocacy in the state and worked with his team members to develop a state plan. Since returning from the conference, the group has continued to work on their plan, including adopting  a  name – Iowa Allies in Disability Advocacy. One of the goals of the Iowa Allies in Disability Advocacy is to hold a summit in Iowa next year for other Iowa self-advocates. Before they can do this the group has decided they will first need to survey other organizations to find out if there is interest  from other advocates around the state.

 

In addition to being a self-advocate, Koki is also employed at Wal-Mart. He has worked there for over eight years in several different roles.  He said that it is hard work but he enjoys it.  Koki has been a successful self-advocate for his employment. He got started by working with a community support organization and now is completely independent. One of his goals for the future is to move from part-time to a full-time position. 

 To hear directly from Koki you can go to www.idaction.org. To hear from other self-advocates, check out www.selfadvocacyonline.org.

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Advocating For Change Day

Mark your calendars – Advocating for Change Day is scheduled for March 27th.  Join Iowans with Disabilities in Action at the Capitol to meet with your legislators and talk about issues important to you. You will start the day by attending an advocacy training to help prepare you to deliver your message, we will then head up to the Capitol and help you find your legislator. Watch for more information about this event on the ID Action website www.idaction.org or call 866-432-2846 with questions.

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National Disability Employment Awareness Month

On September 28, 2012, Governor Terry E. Branstad signed a proclamation declaring October as National Disability Employment Awareness Month in Iowa. The proclamation expresses that a strong workforce is a diverse workforce that includes persons with disabilities. Representatives from ID Action, Candeo and Vocational Rehabilitation joined the Governor for the reading and signing of the proclamation.

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Local Capitol Days

ID Action provides grant funds, advocacy trainings and support to local advocacy groups who are interested in meeting with their legislators at the Capitol and advocating on behalf of disability related issues.

Grant Recipient Requirements

As an ID Action Capitol Day grant recipient, your group must:

• Schedule a Capitol Day  on a Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday in the months of January through March

• Participate in a short advocacy training at the beginning of the Capitol Day

• Set appointments with your legislators (ID Action can assist)

• Provide a written recap of your Capitol Day within two weeks after your visit including any follow up communication with legislators

You group can also: 

• Watch a floor debate

• Attend a committee meeting

• Meet with other state agencies

• Meet with ID Action or Iowa Developmental Disabilities Council staff

 

Eligible Groups and Applying for ID Action Capitol Day Grants

The following are the requirements for your group to be eligible to apply for an ID Action Capitol Day Grant:

• Your group must consist of at least 10 people with a disability (no more than 30)

• Advocating for disability related issues

To apply for an ID Action Capitol Day grant you can call the ID Action phone line at 866-432-2846 or email us at contactus@idaction.org. Grants are available on a first come, first served basis for eligible groups.

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Election Day in Iowa - Video now Available

Getting ready to vote takes time, from researching candidates and understanding their position on issues to finding your polling place and heading out to cast your vote.

When you head out this year, the Iowa Disability Vote Coalition (IDVC) wants you to feel confident about the voting process.  IDVC created a short video "Election Day in Iowa" to take Iowans through the voting process from the time they enter the polling place until they feed their ballot into the tabulator to be counted.

You can watch the video on the IDVC website at

www.idaction.org/vote .

This video also touches on the rights you have on Election Day including your right to vote independently and privately and if needed how you can get help.  

We hope this video will make you feel confident about the voting process and we encourage you to exercise your right to vote on November 6 (or before either by absentee at your County Auditor’s office or at a satellite voting location).

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ID Action Calendar of Events

Check out the new ID Action calendar of events on www.idaction.org. We want you to get involved in your communities and take action. Leading up to the election, there will be many events to choose from and ID Action will keep you informed. If you would like to request an event be added to the ID Action calendar, please email us at contactus@idaction.org or call us at 866-432-2846.

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ID Action Website

ID Action will be launching a new website this fall. Please continue to check www.idaction.org for information and resources to help you get involved.

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Update Your Information

If you would prefer to receive this publication via email, unsubscribe or change your name or address, please contact ID Action at 866-432-2846 or contactus@idaction.org.

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