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Monday, June 15, 2015

Jeb Bush and Developmental Disabilities

The Politics of Autism discusses how the issue came up in the 2008 and 2012 campaigns.  It is sure to come up in 2016, since Hillary Clinton has a long record on the issue, and Marco Rubio worked on autism legislation as a Florida legislator.

Jeb Bush is launching his official candidacy with a video that features an autism mom.

Berthy De La Rosa-Aponte (Cooper City, FL): Lucy has autism, she doesn't speak, she doesn't walk, but not being able to speak is not the same as not having anything to say. People with disabilities they want to have freedom, just like anybody else.
He really cares about us. He really cares about people with developmental disabilities, and with all disabilities. There are people today that are getting services because of what Jeb did. He doesn't do it for himself, he does it because he is a true servant. He is the best voice that we can have. 
Gov. Bush: I am proud of the fact that many families now have the chance to live lives of purpose and meaning. You can improve the life of people, whether it's in the programs for the developmentally disabled, or changing our economy, or fixing our higher education system. All of these things can be fixed I am absolutely convinced of it. What we need is new leadership that takes conservative principles and applies them so that people can rise up. America's best days are in front of us, and we are going to lead the world.

In 2013, PolitiFact discussed how Aponte drew Bush's attention to disability issues and added some context:
Some of the experts we spoke with said multiple lawsuits forced Bush to invest more money to serve more disabled Floridians, and the system was still left with many problems.

Other advocates for people with disabilities -- including Democrats -- speak highly of Bush for meeting with families that often lack a political voice and for getting more money for community services. Bush inherited a troubled system with long waiting lists, which occurred before and after he was governor.

Marcia Beach is an attorney who sued the state on behalf of people with disabilities, as well as a former Democratic Broward county commissioner. She said that overall, Bush’s record on this topic can fairly be called conservative as well.

"I was always extremely grateful he was willing to put money into a program and make the necessary changes and advocate a shift in public policy from institutions to inclusion," she said. "If you think about the arguments it makes good sense. It really is a conservative philosophy if you can avoid higher costs in institutions, then you really get a better bang for your buck."