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Americans with Disabilities Deserve Real Leadership

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For Immediate Release
September 19, 2005

Contact: Damien LaVera


Washington, DC - While Hurricane Katrina revealed deep social and economic fault lines that left large groups of Americans disproportionately vulnerable, low income Americans with disabilities were among the hardest hit by this crisis. Today, Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean issued the following statement:

"While everyone along the Gulf Coast faced unimaginable hardships in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, the Bush Administration's failed leadership on homeland security and emergency preparedness took an especially heavy toll on Americans with disabilities, particularly those with low incomes. From an evacuation and disaster relief effort that failed to address their needs to the challenges of finding accessible housing, health care and prescription drug coverage in the weeks since the storm, the unique challenges confronting Katrina survivors with disabilities have been staggering, and the Bush Administration's response has been unacceptable."

"The hallmark of this great nation is our commitment to ensuring that the most vulnerable among us are not left behind in times of need. But the harsh reality is that too many Americans with disabilities fell victim to the Bush Administration's failed leadership and poor planning. Four years after so many Americans with disabilities were unable to escape the World Trade Center, this tragedy demonstrates the Bush Administration's failure to learn the lessons of September 11th as they relate to the disabled."

"We have an opportunity to address the problems revealed in the aftermath of this tragedy. Americans need real leadership that includes a reconstruction effort that includes the needs of Americans with disabilities, one that provides a model for a system in which Americans with disabilities are integrated into their homes and communities and not forced into nursing homes and institutions. President Bush and Republicans in Washington should join Democrats in working to ensure that Americans with disabilities are fully integrated into our society and included in our emergency preparedness plans, so that, moving forward, they are never again left behind."

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