AAPD LAUNCHES CAMPAIGN SUPPORTING TOM PEREZ FOR LABOR SECRETARY
April 12, 2013 | AAPD Press Team
Nearly 8 in 10 People with Disabilities are Unemployed
Launch of www.PWDforPerez.org Calls Attention to Perez’s Strong Record
Disability Groups Send Letter to US Senators; People with Disabilities are Contacting Senators to Ask for Support
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
AAPD announced the launch of a new website -- www.PWDforPerez.org -- and a new national grassroots campaign in the run-up to the April 18 hearing of the US Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions to consider the nomination of Tom Perez to be Secretary of the Department of Labor. In addition to the online campaign, AAPD is sending a letter from 66 disability rights organizations to US Senators urging Perez’s swift confirmation. The letter and the online campaign will call attention to Perez’s decades-long strong record on disability issues, which makes him one of the most well-informed and experienced cabinet-level nominees from the disability community’s perspective in many years.
At a time when nearly 8 in 10 people with disabilities are unemployed, having a leader at the helm of the Department of Labor with such a deep understanding of the dire employment situation for people with disabilities is an important part of the Administration’s ongoing efforts to create jobs and grow the middle class.
“For too long, people with disabilities seeking employment have faced unnecessary and often insurmountable barriers, keeping them out of the middle class and keeping the American Dream out of reach,” said Mark Perriello, President & CEO of AAPD. “Having a Labor Secretary who understands the employment challenges for people with disabilities – and who has experience finding solutions – will help advance the unfinished business that began with the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act back in 1990.”
The letter may be downloaded here.
The full text of the letter to US Senators is below:
April 12, 2013
The Honorable Tom Harkin
Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions
731 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
The Honorable Lamar Alexander
Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions
455 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
Dear Chairman Harkin and Ranking Member Alexander:
On behalf of all the undersigned disability rights organizations, we write to urge you to vote to confirm Thomas Perez as the next Secretary of the U.S. Department of Labor. Mr. Perez is highly qualified to serve as Secretary of Labor, having a long record of working with employees, job seekers, and employers to promote greater employment opportunities for all Americans. In particular, his work to advance opportunities for people with disabilities gives us confidence that he will be an effective Labor Secretary.
In the twenty-three years since the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act, a top priority of the disability rights movement has been making sure that the law is properly enforced. In that time, few have played a greater role in advancing that cause than Assistant Attorney General Tom Perez. During his time leading the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice, Mr. Perez has earned his reputation as an extraordinary champion of people with disabilities by enforcing the law to ensure that every American has an equal opportunity to succeed.
The Supreme Court’s Olmstead decision and Mr. Perez’s enforcement of the Americans with Disabilities Act have created new opportunities for many thousands of people with disabilities to live in their own homes and communities. These efforts have fundamentally changed the lives of people with disabilities, allowing many to participate as full members of society for the first time.
Under Mr. Perez’s leadership, the Justice Department also issued important regulations implementing the ADA -- the first comprehensive update since the original regulations were promulgated in 1991 -- as well as four sets of proposed regulations implementing various aspects of the ADA. In addition, Mr. Perez’s efforts to ensure people with disabilities have equal access to polling locations, along with his efforts to prevent states from instituting regressive voter laws, have expanded access to the vote for Americans with disabilities nationwide.
Tom Perez has been one of the most important leaders of our time for improving the lives of people with disabilities. We strongly support his swift confirmation as Secretary of Labor.
Albany Advocacy Resource Center, Inc. (ARC)
American Counseling Association
American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA)
American Therapeutic Recreation Association
Arc of the United States
Arizona Bridge to Independent Living (ABIL)
Association of Assistive Technology Act Programs (ATAP)
Association of People Supporting Employment First (APSE)
Association of Programs for Rural Independent Living (APRIL)
Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD)
Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law
Brain Injury Association of America
Brooklyn Center for Independence of the Disabled (BCID)
Brown, Goldstein & Levy, LLP
Californians for Cures
Center for Independence of the Disabled of New York
Connecting Arizona Advocates, Inc.
Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates, Inc. (COPAA)
CTD/Coaltion of Texans with Disabilities
Disability Power & Pride
disABILITY Resource Center
Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund
Disability Rights Legal Center
Disability Rights NC
Epilepsy Foundation of Western Wisconsin
Equip for Equality
Federal Employees with Disabilities
Illinois Iowa Center for Independent Living
Independent Living Center of the North Shore & Cape Ann, Inc.
Institute for Educational Leadership
Little People of America
Maryland Disability Law Center
Mental Health America
National Alliance on Mental Illness
National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities
National Center for Environmental Health Strategies
National Center for Learning Disabilities
National Consumers League
National Council on Independent Living
National Disability Rights Network
National Down Syndrome Congress
National Federation of the Blind
National Health Law Program
National Organization of Nurses with Disabilities (NOND)
Parent to Parent USA
People First of Ohio
Prairie Independent Living Resource Center, Inc.
Services for Independent Living, Inc. (SIL)
Southeast Alaska Independent Living
Southwest Center for Independent Living
Telecommunications for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, Inc.
The Advocacy Institute
United Spinal Association
Virginia Association of Centers for Independent Living
cc: Full United States Senate
Contact: Sydney Ortman
# # #
The American Association of People with Disabilities is the nation's largest disability rights organization. We promote equal opportunity, economic power, independent living, and political participation for people with disabilities. Our members, including people with disabilities and our family, friends, and supporters, represent a powerful force for change. To learn more, visit the AAPD Web site: www.aapd.com.
Manager, Policy and Communications
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