During an emergency such as a hurricane or a public health crisis, there is not only a need to focus planning and response efforts on disability-specific aspects of the emergency, but also to seek the input and expertise of people with disabilities in the process. If elected, how would your office work to ensure that state emergency planning (i.e., health testing, sheltering and safety of congregate living populations, et cetera) is inclusive of Florida’s disability communities? How will you work to ensure that communications and other information from the state is accessible to people with disabilities?
As we have seen at congregate living facilities there were fatalities that shouldn't have been. Aftermath of a hurricane without power and water is not a good combination. Shelter in place, ensure there are hurricane shutters, backup generators, water supply, food and communications other than a landline. If power goes out and there isn't air conditioning common sense has to prevail to get those residents to other facilities. As we seen in the past that didn't happen and numerous fatalities too place. The facility should have their own means to transport to move people from their facility so as not to burden first responder's who are already overwhelmed.
In the event that the global pandemic lasts through the current school year or possibly beyond, how would you work with state educational officials to ensure that relevant state and federal educational guarantees for students with disabilities are adhered to, and do you believe that it is possible to appropriately educate students with disabilities remotely or through virtual education?
My daughter is a teacher and I have my concerns for her as for any others. She has been remotely teaching. It's not an easy task and not fair to the students or staff for a fulfilling education . At some point hoping to see classes open up and get back on a neutral playing field. As with any student they need the means (computer, Ipad) to accomplish virtual learning. I've taken on line college courses. More convenient but the teacher / student bond isn't there. There is a clearer understanding of the course material with teacher / student contact. The education gain will limited and not 100%.
In recent years, the state legislature has devoted much attention to the issue of mental health service delivery and crisis response systems in state public schools. In your opinion, how should the state work to ensure that the mental health needs of its students are met, and what reforms are needed to provide adequate mental health and crisis response services in our schools? When, if ever, is it appropriate for schools to initiate involuntary examinations for its students under the Florida Mental Health Act (“the Baker Act”)?
I have initiated the Baker Act during my law enforcement career. Involves numerous paperwork and articulation. Unless the law has changed a person can be help up to 72 hrs for evaluation. More often then not people are out before the 72 hrs and stop taking their medication. Baker Act can be voluntary and involuntary. People can look you in the eye tell you want you want to hear and still hide their underlying motive. If they don't want help they can't be helped. For the safety of in school needs to be preventative and not just a responsive after a critical incident takes place. There were signs that were not followed up by the shooter at Marjory Stoneman Douglas HS.
It has become apparent that COVID-19 spreads most easily in institutional and congregate living arrangements. If elected, how would you work to prevent the unnecessary institutionalization of persons with disabilities and reduce other forms of congregate living in favor of serving persons with disabilities in their own homes or the community both during and after the current pandemic? What will you do to ensure that people with psychiatric disabilities are afforded the services they need to succeed in their own homes and communities and avoid psychiatric hospitalization?
First my medical appointments have be by phone and virtual meetings. The same can be done for people to ensure save living arraignments within the confines of their homes. Home visitation by health professionals and social workers. Trained professionals need to ensure the persons are taking their prescribed medication so they can function in society. Need to be aware of any behavioral changes of their clients.
Even before the pandemic began and massive job losses ensued, 2.7 million Floridians were uninsured. Research shows that under normal circumstances the uninsured have much greater challenges accessing health care, and these disparities are exacerbated during a health crisis. Do you support expanding the state’s Medicaid program to cover adults (19-64) with income up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level to provide more than 800,000 Floridians with coverage? Why or why not? Do you support proposals to utilize a “block grant” or “per capita cap” approach to contain Medicaid spending? Why or why not?
Per capita cap would be per enrollee with the state having less oversight from federal government. Block grant would not cover increasing healthcare costs and would be coming from state funds to cover the shortfall. It seems a per capita scenario makes more sense. Never seems to be a plan in place without caveats making things more complicated. I've provided for my families healthcare in good financial times and bad. This should be temporary assistance working to make citizens self sufficient . Granted, the pandemic brought upon our great country did not help our needs for medical coverage. Insurance policies need to be made more affordable. I retired from law enforcement and could not afford the family premium coverage. Whether low income or not ACA is not affordable.
Despite the protections of the Americans with Disabilities Act (the ADA) and related state and federal laws, the unemployment rate of people with disabilities continues to be much higher than that of people without disabilities. If elected, how would you work to promote meaningful opportunities for supported employment and competitive, integrated employment of people with disabilities in the state? What policies do you advocate to support the academic and career success of students with disabilities, especially for students from historically marginalized communities and backgrounds?
Not knowing all the issues facing people with disabilities I would meet with representative from various organizations to advise me on how to improve accommodations so I may present a legislative bill. It seems government, large businesses, education facilities and transportation systems have access in place. What do you see that needs more support so that I can have the knowledge to promote the needs of people with disabilities. What's your definition on marginalized communities for I can be clear on it?
Nationwide it is believed that there are more than 750,000 people with disabilities who are incarcerated, and many of these individuals face substantial barriers to reentry when they complete their sentences and return home. What reforms do you support to ensure that returning citizens with disabilities have the resources, skills and mental health supports to succeed when they complete their sentences?
Depending on the degree of disability would determine what level of services would be required. Anyone incarcerated with or without disabilities should have the training in place within the facility and be ready to reenter society. Again if a person doesn't want the training it's not mandatory. You can only help those who want to help themselves. Unfortunately the recidivism is high. Education and skills training to my knowledge exist within the facilities.
What is your experience working with people with disabilities or alongside disability-led organizations? Please provide examples of your experience addressing and responding to disability issues or describing disability advocacy efforts you have participated in either personally, professionally, or while in elected office if applicable. If elected, how would you integrate the input and perspectives of people with disabilities in your office’s planning and legislative efforts?
I am a retired military veteran with service connected disabilities. I will work for the benefit of disabled veterans as well as the community as a whole. I volunteer at the Veterans Administration. My office would be open to advocates input to assist me in the integration of concerns to plan my legislative agenda. Thank you for the opportunity for me to participate.