As a Cape & Islands Republican, I believe in a limited government; and I believe that our government has a duty to help and serve the most vulnerable among us including and protecting the most vulnerable – all children, the disabled, homeless or others – we have an obligation to provide the assistance that is most beneficial to them, at a responsible cost to the taxpayers.
Cape & Islands Republicans are a solution-oriented Party and support tackling problems rather than adding funding to programs without an understanding of whether money will actually solve the problem.
I believe the government should be a helping hand and a safety net, dedicated to preserving the rights and dignity of all for whom it cares. Services should aim to empower people and propel them towards self-sufficiency and independence whenever possible. No one aspires to be reliant on government support; the government shouldn’t aspire to keep anyone reliant on it either.
Under current Democratic leadership, the number of homeless families who had to live in hotels and motels because no shelter or housing was available grew to over 2,000 families, at a cost to the state of over $50 million. Under Republican leadership, that number has been reduced to fewer than 60 families.
I support these ongoing efforts to reallocate resources to preventing families from becoming homeless and helping families out of motels and into more permanent and suitable housing. Our goal is to assist those who are able, to get back on their feet so they can ultimately provide their own housing, rather than remain dependent on the state.
The government also has a responsibility to ensure the funds allocated for helping individuals and families actually goes to serve those populations. I support rooting out fraud and abuse so that taxpayer funds can be spent on those who truly need it.
I believe that when it comes to caring for the most vulnerable among us, our state government must be held to the highest possible standards. I support the fundamental changes underway at the Department of Children and Family Services in order to better protect children in potentially abusive situations and in foster care.
Too many people in our Commonwealth are suffering from addictions, especially opioids. More than five people per day are dying in Massachusetts from this deadly epidemic, and individuals and families from all communities and backgrounds are impacted by this disease. I believe a comprehensive approach is necessary to tackle this epidemic, including education of children and parents, cracking down on over-prescription of opioids, quality and evidence-based treatment options, and strong support networks to help people maintain their recovery.
The Republican Party has a strong history of leading on policy issues to improve the lives of individuals with disabilities. Milestone achievements include the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Individuals with Disability Education Act (IDEA) both signed into law by
President George Herbert Walker Bush. However, many in the disability community have not realized the full promise intended by these laws, whether it be the family of a child with autism who is thrown into the tangle of special education or a wounded soldier returning to high unemployment and uncoordinated resources. I see disabled individuals as Americans looking to participate in the American Dream. This view contrasts with the historic view of disability of dependence too often resulting in paternalistic programs dictating care.
Nationally, 67% of wworking-age people with disabilities are unemployed according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. Yet, we know that 80% of people with disabilities want to work. We believe in programs that focus on “can” rather than “can’t.” I support a system that provides flexibility to fit the needs of the individual rather than command and control from Washington or Beacon Hill. I see people with disabilities as an untapped pool of talent from which society can benefit. This attitude is in sharp contrast to the idea that we must only take care of people with disabilities.
Under current law, the federal government is authorized to fund up to 40 percent of the additional cost of educating students with disabilities. However, federal contributions have never approached that goal. I support increasing the federal contribution to fund IDEA and building upon the law to better account for the transition to independence.
I support efforts to address the problem of disability employment through innovative employment first policies which require that employment be the first consideration in service planning for working age adults with disabilities.