When the Autism Society is asked to take a position on a particular bill in Congress or action by the United States Government, we engage in a review process and assess how it matches with our policy positions, our strategic plan, and our mission and vision developed by our Board of Directors.
Our review process starts with the simple questions as to how the proposed policy might impact autistic individuals and families we represent. We then assess the impact of the planned or proposed action. We also know that we represent a diverse community that often reflects the differences in the politics of our nation. In spite of these challenges, we strive to ensure our actions match up with our mission and vision and are supported by data and evidence-based research.
I mention this because this November, elections will be held in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. In all 50 states, voters will have the opportunity to vote for who will represent them in the House of Representatives and in some states, who will represent them in the Senate. As we advocate for a comprehensive and effective Federal government response to helping individuals impacted by autism, we also know that election time is a good time for each person to assess how well their current elected officials running for re-election, as well as candidates running against such individuals, share our mission and values. We do not (and can not) endorse any candidate, but we can and should educate voters on the policy positions of these candidates related to autism services and supports. To provide this information, we will be developing “Scorecards” based on votes or positions taken by incumbents running for the Senate or House of Representatives. We expect this “Scorecard” will be available in early October 2018.
Advocacy has to be more than letting your elected officials know what you think or what you want regarding a particular piece of legislation. It has to also be about holding them accountable when they wish to represent us and our constituency.