The 5% Campaign was the focus of two exciting events yesterday, both reinforcing the need for a rate increase for Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) in 2014, and highlighting the important work that direct support professionals do day-in and day-out.
Twitter Q & A with Senator Kent Eken
Senator Kent Eken, the lead author of The 5% Campaign legislation in the Senate and a strong advocate for the disability community, participated in a live question and answer session via Twitter. The 5% Campaign, supporting organizations, and individuals posed questions about the importance of the campaign, people served by HCBS, and the staff who support them.
When asked if he had any advice for caregivers who go to the Capitol every year to ask legislators for a rate increase and are passed over, Senator Eken responded with thoughtful and motivating feedback. "I know it's frustrating, but it often takes several tries to get things passed at the legislature. Never give up. Don’t give up. Keep advocating. You have friends in the legislature, who really do care."
Rochester Town Hall Forum
Hiawatha Homes, Cardinal of Minnesota, Home and Community Options, Winona ORC, and the Arc Southeastern Minnesota, hosted a 5% Campaign Town Hall Forum in Rochester. More than one hundred attended, and the gathering included Representative Mike Benson (26B), Representative John Petersburg (24A), Representative Duane Quam (25A) and Representative Steve Drazkowski (21B).
Self-advocates, staff, parents and board members all spoke from the heart and tears were often present. They shared their personal stories about the importance of services, the need for qualified staff, and struggles in retaining staff while offering such low wages. One direct service professional put it best when she said, “To provide quality care, we need quality pay.”
Thank you to everyone who participated in these events. To view photos and media coverage from the Town Hall, please visit The 5% Campaign’s Facebook page.
You can show your support for services for people with disabilities and older adults in Minnesota by signing The 5% Campaign's online petition at http://bit.ly/1bWZxGC.
To find out more about this campaign and upcoming events including The 5% Rally at the Capitol on November 12th, please visit The 5% Campaign page on ARRM’s website or contact Sara Grafstrom.
--Sara Grafstrom, Director of Advocacy and Community Relations