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Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Autism Hit Piece

The following appeared in The Bothell-Kenmore Reporter in Washington State:

My 19-year-old son is diagnosed with asperger's syndrome, an autism spectrum disorder. Imagine the outrage I felt when I opened my mailbox to discover a political attack ad against my husband (Dennis Richter, candidate for Washington State Representative in Legislative District 1, Position 1), which was addressed to this same son, stating that, "If you're concerned about the risk of autism ... Then you should be concerned about the risk of politician Dennis Richter." It is despicable that any false claim be made against my husband, but this one is particularly offensive! Dennis cares deeply about children affected by autism, one of them being his own stepson!

There is no way for Dennis to have been misconstrued. In response to the false claims made against him, he states on his campaign Web site:

• "Our political opposition is trying to deceive voters by misstating our positions on important issues. For example, one recent mailer said I am against screening for autism and breast cancer. This is a blatant lie, twisting what I believe about health care mandates. Put simply, I do not believe it is the function of state government to tell private industry what they have to sell to consumers. Any insurance company should be allowed to sell policies that provide a wide range of coverage. That will keep our health care costs as low as possible. We believe that voters will see through this type of strategy by our opposition and will side with the common sense solutions our campaign offers."

"By the way, my 19-year-old stepson, Jared, was diagnosed with asperger's syndrome ("high-functioning autism") at an early age. It is a particularly low blow for my political opponents to deceitfully attack me over such a personal issue.”

As of this morning, Richter was running behind his opponent.