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photo of Carl AndrewsQuestionnaire response from:
Carl Andrews, candidate for Congress (11th Congressional District, Brooklyn)

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Candidate Name: State Senator Carl Andrews

Campaign Manager: Marco A. Carrion

Phone: 347-365-4122

Fax: 347-365-4693


Campaign Address: 1169 Nostrand Avenue, Brooklyn, N.Y. 11225

Contact Person: Shu-Fy H. Pongnon

Phone: 347-365-4122

Fax: 347-365-4693



Congressional District #: NY-11th (Brooklyn)


  1. Please describe any experience with disability you have had in your life or career.

    Professionally, I have worked with various committees and agencies that work vigourously on behalf of the disabled and providing for their unique needs. I was a member of the Senate Committee on Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities (MHDD) and as a member fought to restore budget funding to the Office of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities (OMRDD). I worked tirelessly to prevent the closing of several facilities, including the Institute for Basic Research (IBR) in Staten Island and the Nathan S. Kline Institute for Psychiatric Research. On the legislative side, I co-sponsored a bill with Senator Oppenheimer regarding off street parking for the handicapped to require certain ramp cuts. I also co-sponsored a bill with Senator Savino relating to accessible MetroCard vending stations for handicapped persons.

    My life has also been touched by disability in an extremely intimate fashion. My sister suffers from schizophrenia. Having experienced her lifelong battle with this debilitating illness, I am acutely aware of the need to provide the resources necessary to support and assist those with disabilities thrive.

  2. Is your campaign headquarters accessible to persons with disabilities? If you are an incumbent, is your district office accessible to persons with disabilities?

    Yes. Both my campaign headquarters and district office are accessible to persons with disabilities.

    1. How will you incorporate people with disabilities into your campaign?

      To incorporate persons who are differently abled, I will direct my office to make all appropriate accomodations and identify tasks and work that would take their interests and abilities into consideration.

    2. Are you willing to hire and use flex-time and job-sharing if necessary?

      I am willing to use flex-time and job-sharing as a means of accomodating needs.

  3. What do you think of the Ticket to Work and Work Incentives Improvement Act? What will you do to find a solution to the problem of high rates of unemployment for people with disabilities and the removal of disincentives to joining the workforce?

    The Ticket to Work and Self-Sufficiency Program is a positive step forward in the push to establish employment for persons with disabilities who are interested in working. I am committed to removing barriers to employment for all and ensuring that employees and employers have the support services necessary to increase individual success and the success of the overall initiative, as well as help persons with disabilities become fully integrated members of our society and workforce.

  4. In 2002, the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) passed in Congress. What would you do to resolve problem areas preventing smooth transitions to new voting systems by 2006-such as accessible voting machines, ensuring that states receive the needed funds, etc.? What is your position the HAVA's requirement that by 2006 each polling place have at least one accessible voting machine?

    HAVA formed the Election Assistance Commission (EAC) to help states spend the allocated $3.8 billion federal dollars on voting systems and create a process to certify voting equipment. We must continue to work to make sure that all money and resources allocated for these critical changes are available and spent intelligently.

    No matter what your abilities, voting must be transparent and accessible to all. At least one accessible voting machine is a step in the right direction, but it is only a step. The amount of accessible voting machines should be calculated based on the numbers of disabled in each respective community. We must employ common sense approaches that do not marginalize persons with disabilities.

  5. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act turned 29 this past year, yet funding remains below mandated levels in New York State, as in many other states. What will you do to correct this problem, and strengthen the services provided students with disabilities, so that in fact, "no child is left behind?"

    New York, and our nation, has not seen the benefits promised by President Bush and the proponents of "No Child Left Behind." The program has failed to meet the needs of all our students. As it relates to services provided students with disabilities, or Special Education students I will push for New York's entitled share of Title I money. There is a federal allocation of $22 billion dollars for the program, but only $13 billion has been distributed. I would make critical alliances and negotiate for the releasing of funds for District 11, and by extension, initiate precedent for all representatives to do the same and fight for their constituents and their fair share of available and entitled resources.

  6. A bill called the ADA Notification Act has been kicking around both houses of the U.S. Congress for the past few years. It calls for amending Title III of the ADA requiring that prior to filing lawsuits, people with disabilities provide business owners with 90 days advance notice of ADA violations in writing--detailing the location of inaccessible facilities, dates when access was attempted, and facts relating to their attempt to gain access. What are your thoughts on this issue?

    I am against any initiative that serves to dilute or nullify the long, hard fought gains of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

    Requiring persons with disabilities to provide business owners with 90 days advance written notice of ADA violations, detailing all facts related to their inability to gain access to non-ADA compliant establishments, is a disincentive to business owners who must take the accommodation needs of the disabled into consideration at the very beginning of the planning and construction phase.

    Businesses must feel an obligation to voluntarily comply with ADA protections, not wait until they are caught in violation before initiating accessibility modifications. There is no room to claim ignorance. The Federal government already spends millions of dollars educating businesses of their ADA responsibilities and States have begun attaching ADA requirements to all new business licenses and renewals to further notify businesses of their need to comply with the law.

  7. Recently, there is uneven availability of Medicaid-funded attendant services in the U.S. There are "good" states (such as New York) which offer decent programs, and "bad" states (such as Florida) which offer little service. The proposed Medicaid Community Attendant Services & Supports Act (MiCASSA) would establish a national program of attendant services and supports. This means that current recipients of services will not unjustly have their hours cut, thus permitting the freedom to move to another state to live, work, and/or study. A companion piece of legislation, Money Follows the Individual, would end the bias toward institutional care by ensuring that funding for services continues when an individual leaves the nursing home and is reintegrated into the community. Do you support the passage of MiCASSA? Do you support the concept of Money Follows the Individual?

    Yes. I support the passage of critical legislation like MiCASSA and the Money Follows the Individual companion piece. Services, like our healthcare coverage, should be universal and governed by national standards of care. If America measures itself by how it treats its most vulnerable, than it is incumbent upon its public servants to ensure that our most vulnerable are given the resources necessary to live fuller lives.

  8. Most health insurance plans in America treat mental disorders in an unequal fashion when compared to physical disorders. The typical health insurance plan in America authorizes unlimited hospitalization for physical disorders while limiting hospitalization for mental disorders to 30 days per calendar year. The typical insurance plan in America authorizes a broad array of outpatient services for physical insurance, but limits outpatient mental health services to 20 visits each year. What would you do to remedy this problem?

    As a state senator, I am on record as a strong supporter of Timothy's Law - legislation that mandates that insurance providers covering any health care services must also provide coverage for mental health and substance abuse services, and that coverage and cost must be 'on par' with all other health care services covered under such policy. Personally, having a sister who suffers from her own mental health battle, it is important to me, and should be important to all Americans who struggle with the issue of disability or not, that no family faces the loss or further deterioration of a loved one due to discriminatory insurance practices that give unscientific and false precedent to physical over mental disabilities.

    Parity based mental health insurance coverage must be a nationwide issue and as a member of Congress, I will continue the fight for that parity

  9. Do you favor removing the Federal Government's restrictions and substantially increasing funding on stem cell research?

    I am in favor of removing the Federal Government's restrictions and moving beyond the piecemeal measures currently in place that keep us from conducting the extensive research we need to begin to battling fearsome debilitating diseases and begin conducting the research that can lead to major medical advancements to treat countless diseases. The Republican administration is stalling on potentially life-saving measures that can improve the lives of millions. Millions of America's families cannot afford this costly delay.

  10. Persons with disabilities have historically been under-represented within the Democratic Party leadership. According to the 2000 census, persons with disabilities comprised 20.6% of all residents in New York State and 23.1% of population 18 years and older. Previously, we were told that only those groups included in the Voting Rights Act were included in the goals and timetables for delegate selection. Yet the lesbian and gay communities were included for the first time at the 2000 convention and again at the 2004 convention. Would you support a campaign to set a goal that 10% of the total New York State Delegation to the 2008 Democratic National Convention be comprised of persons with disabilities?

    I would support any measure that calls for the inclusion of persons with disabilities to the 2008 Democratic National Convention. As state senator of a district diverse in race, spoken languages, religions, and abilities, I value the contributions of all groups and build coalitions that embrace and respect that diversity, while simultaneously making sure address their needs.

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