Friday, 20 March 2009
Sarah Palin, special needs champion?
Sarah Palin with Trig, one of her favourite political props
Gov. Sarah Palin is refusing to accept more than 30 percent of the federal economic stimulus money being offered to Alaska, including dollars for schools, energy assistance and social services.
Much of the stimulus package money for education -- about $74 million -- was designated for poor schools and special-needs kids.
Doesn't Sarah Palin call herself a champion of children with special needs?
In this article from Chicago Tribune in October 2008, Sarah said some interesting things about the issue.
Less than two weeks before Election Day, she will deliver her first major policy speech Friday, calling for full funding of special education, a subject that has suddenly become extremely personal. And that's not just because of the arrival of Trig, her 6-month-old son with Down syndrome. It's because families with children who have disabilities have been flocking to her campaign stops, looking to Palin and her family for inspiration.
Palin called the disabilities issues "a joyful challenge." Todd Palin showed off photos of people with Down syndrome who have come to campaign events, and the candidate said one advocacy group sent her a bumper sticker that said "My kid has more chromosomes than your kid."
"These children are not a problem, they are a priority," Palin said.
From that Friday speech:
"To the families of special-needs children all across this country, I have a message: for years, you sought to make America a more welcoming place for your sons and daughters. I pledge to you that if we are elected, you will have a friend and advocate in the White House."
Sarah Palin's record tells a different story.
Under Sarah Palin, funds decreased from a planned budget of 8265.30 to 3156.0. That's a 62% decrease. Actual consumed amount went from 7949.3 to 3156.00, where it lingers to this day. That's a 60% decrease.
According to state documents, she cut the state’s Special Olympics budget in half with the governor's line-item veto power, trimming it by $275,000. Sarah Palin also slashed funding for statewide independent living centers and transition housing for homeless young adults.
Now she has refused stimulus money that could have helped fund services for children with special needs.
Trig is not a problem, he's a prop. A priority is what Trig and the other 18,000 children with physical and emotional disabilities in Alaska are not.
NYT, Chicago Tribune, ADN, Stimulus breakdown (pdf)
Sarah Palin's Special Olympics video.