Governor Palin, you have said repeatedly that you will be an advocate for parents of special needs children. It is now time for you to tell us what you mean by that statement. It is not enough that you chose to have a baby with special needs. There are thousands of us who made the same choice - and others like me who did not know until our children were born (or later even) that they had special needs. There are also hundreds of thousands of people with developmental disabilities on decades-long waiting lists for services across the country - and others who are completely unable to access services for their children because they don't fit some arbitrary criteria.
Specifically, I want to know the following:
1. Do you support increased funding to and the expansion of Medicaid Waiver programs to ensure that people with special needs can live and work in the community?
2. Do you support making certain that all services are portable, across the states and counties - that people don't have to get at the "end of the line" when they move to another state?
3. Will you increase funding to special education, and improve special education programs so that less parents have to "opt out" of sending their special needs children to public school because "homeschooling" is better than "no schooling?"
4. If John McCain were President, and he were to propose drastic cuts in Medicaid, what kind of advocacy would you do for special needs parents to prevent funding cuts that would put us back to the 1960's?
5. What did you do in Alaska to improve the lives of people with special needs? Did you increase services? Did you increase funding to special education? Did you end waiting lists? Have you served on nonprofit boards that serve children with special needs? How often did the local papers in Alaska write about your advocacy for the families of Alaska who have special needs children? Do all families in Alaska have access to local, community-based programs and treatment regardless of their income because of your advocacy efforts?
6. Are you in favor of spending more time, money and attention on the horrific status of mental health treatment and services across the nation?
7. Would you be in favor of ensuring that services are provided to people with disabilities who need them, in spite of their IQ's not being in the right "range"? Specifically, how would you address this problem?
8. If Roe v. Wade were overturned, what special programs might you institute to support the high influx new parents of special needs children who might not have otherwise given birth to those children because they felt they could not manage for whatever reason?
Governor Palin, the media has had the opportunity to ask you these questions but have not done so. You have seized that opportunity with photo ops and heartstrings to simply say that you will be an advocate for us, without being questioned. You complain that the media is against you and yet you have not taken the time to explain to the hundreds of thousands of we special needs parents who need a champion for our cause so much, exactly what your record is on special needs advocacy and what we can expect in the future if you were Vice President.
It's time now to answer the question: What is your plan?