Candidate Name: Tony Avella
Candidate for Senate District: 11 (Queens)
Contact Person: Rebecca Sheehan
Campaign Address: 38-50 Bell Boulevard-Suite C, Bayside, NY 11361
If there is a Campaign office(s), is it wheelchair accessible?
Yes, the campaign office is accessible to people with disabilities.
If you are not an incumbent,
Is your present office/work place accessible to people with disabilities? If not, what have you done to rectify the inaccessibility?
If the present district office is inaccessible, do you intend to find an accessible office?
My current office/work place is the campaign office, which is accessible to people with disabilities. However, when I was the City Council Member for the 19th Council District, my office was accessible to people with disabilities.
What personal and professional experience have you had with people with disabilities in your personal life and in the workplace?
As a member of the City Council, I had the opportunity to work with people with disabilities on various levels.
What type of jobs would you be willing to hire and to provide reasonable accommodation (e.g. flex or part time) for staff members with disabilities?
Any and all positions which would be available in my office, should I be elected.
While in public office and/or prior to this campaign, what have you accomplished in regard to advancing disability rights? This can include work towards accessible housing, transportation, employment, health care, education, and including people with disabilities in the political process?
Voted in favor of all City Council legislation that promoted the causes/issues relating to people with disabilities. Fought to get the Department of Sanitation to change snow removal policy to include crosswalks.
Will you commit to only attend and/or sponsor events that are accessible to people with disabilities including providing written materials in alternate formats, providing assistive listening systems, and sign language interpreters, as well as ensuring that locations are accessible to people who use mobility aids, like wheelchairs and walkers?
Do you pledge to use your office to affirm or strengthen, rather than weaken, civil rights protections to persons with disabilities?
How do you propose your active involvement/availability to the disability community?
Will there be a specific person in your office responsible to this community?
Will have regular office agenda meetings on these issues?
What would you do to have direct contact with our community?
Have regular meetings with organizations representing people with disabilities.
How will you work closely with the disability community to assure passage of vitally needed legislation? What will be your strategy?
My office will keep in contact and reach out to respective organizations regarding strategy for legislation.
How would you change the laws of New York State to protect the rights of its citizens with disabilities?
That would depend on discussions with your group as well as other organizations whose goals are to promote the interests of people with disabilities.
While the State is focused on reducing the costs of Medicaid and other programs, persons with disabilities need to continue to have access to the services and supports they need and choose.
Would you oppose proposals which would negatively affect eligibility, benefits, coverage, and/or access to services for Medicaid beneficiaries and eliminate the systemic bias that leads to unwanted placement in nursing homes and other institutions?
Would you seek to promote comprehensive long term care reform that will not reduce coverage or access to services?
Would you increase rental/housing subsidies to participants in the new Nursing Facility Transition and Diversion Medicaid waiver program?
Not familiar with this program.
Would you expand Elderly Pharmaceutical Insurance Coverage program (EPIC) to provide the same level of eligibility and coverage to persons with disabilities under age 65?
Will you support moving funds from nursing homes to moving patients out of nursing homes and back into the community?
We are in the midst of a housing crisis. Accessible, affordable housing is in short supply. People with disabilities are being priced out of the market. Do you support the creation of a housing trust fund for persons with disabilities?
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 requires housing developers to set aside a certain percentage of accessible units for persons with disabilities when federal funds are used for construction. Do you favor incorporating these provisions into State law so that the Department of Housing and Community Renewal can be empowered to enforce these provisions?
Visitability sets guidelines to ensure newly constructed multi-family dwellings have basic accessible/adaptable features to permit people with disabilities can visit, and for residents to
"age in place," without having to move out when age and/or disability set in. Do you support incorporating the concept of
"visitability" in the New York State Building Code?
At present: SCRIE (Senior Citizen Rent Increase Exemption) Household income cap is $29,000. DRIE (Disabled Rent Increase Exemption) is $19,284/single and $27,780/2 or more. What is your position on increasing DRIE income eligibility to match SCRIE?
Strongly support increasing eligibility limits.
While localities have acquired voting machines that attempt to meet the accessibility standards of the Help America Vote Act (HAVA), many poling places in New York State remain inaccessible to persons with disabilities. Do you favor the elimination of provisions in Section 4-104 (1-a) of the New York State Election Law allowing waiver of polling place accessibility standards?
Despite Section 504 and the Americans with Disabilities Act, students with disabilities face problems when pursuing higher education. These statutes do not specify how students should request accommodations or assistance in asserting their rights under the law. Will you support a fully funded office of disability services on each SUNY and CUNY campus to assist students with disabilities in securing accommodations?
How do you propose dealing with school districts that deny civil rights to disabled students even after the Sate Division of Civil Rights affirms the student's rights such as to use a service animal?
The State Attorney General should take legal action against any school district that denies civil rights to disabled students.
Do you support legislation requiring car services, and shuttle services to purchase wheelchair accessible vehicles or otherwise ensure that they have the capacity to serve persons with disabilities?
Will you or do you support Assembly Member Kellner's proposed bill requiring New York City to transition to a 100% accessible taxi fleet?
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 New York State residents and 23.1% of those 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 and 2010 conventions. Would you support a campaign to set a goal that 10% of the total New York State Delegation to the 2012 Democratic National Convention be comprised of persons with disabilities.