Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Tetraplegic Man Elected as State Legislator

Following on from last week's news of the House of Lord's Reforms for Baroness Campbell (see Parliamentary Progress in Access to Elected Office!!), I can now report on fantastic news of an individual with similar levels of physical adversity getting elected to office!!

Alas, it was not on our side of the pond but in the state of Arkansas, USA. Josh Miller has been elected to the State Capitol, representing the community of Herber Springs.
Elected on the same day as the Presidential Elections, Josh said "I don't really look at myself as being any different, because in life, everyone has adversity" and stated that authorities were making adjustments to his desk in the State Chamber. 

I believe this shows that real progress is being seen right across the democratic world and all types of legislatives are for the first time, really getting to grips with what is needed to widen access to those with disabilities. In America, the concept of disability is too easily clouded with 'Veteranism' and so its good to see someone with no military history, still continuing to get elected.
(Click the play button a few times if the video doesn't start)

"I don't really look at myself as being any different, because in life, everyone has adversity," Miller said."
What I found most striking is that Miller is a Republican Conservative and is directly opposed to The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) or generally known as Obamacare. Now I'm not saying its a 'line-in-the-sand' rule but you generally find most people with disabilities and rights campaigners are to be found on the left or leaning at least. For the most part, this is down to the necessities of being on low-income and in increased need of Welfare, Healthcare and Social services.

This is true for most people on both sides of the pond. However, what makes his views intriguing more so is that with being Tetraplegic, his personal care and medication needs are considerably higher than most and in the United States, his insurance, especially without Obamacare, will be more expensive from most providers.

He clearly believes the needs of those with complex disabilities can be met without capping insurance premiums and similar protective measures. I hope he's right because having a Spinal Cord Injury can happen at anytime in someone's life and during the acute stages of rehab, it may not be completely clear as to what level or completion your injury is. This 'limbo' period can result in hesitation on the part of insurance companies.

I find it liberating to hear of someone who see's past their physical barriers and even the socio-political expectations of their political thinking. I wonder if there are any prominent Tories with complex disabilities in the UK who are seeking election?

If you have a disability and are interested in getting elected, whatever level of Government; your town hall or into the corridors of Westminster, please have a look at the financial support available through the Access to Elected Office Fund. The Access to Elected Office Fund offers individual grants of between £250 and £10,000 to disabled people who want to be selected as candidates for an election, or who are standing for election.

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