Letter from a community disability advocate and friend of TCIL to our Senator Kamala Harris

Dear Editor,

New Year’s Day I received an email from Senator Kamala Harris. It emphasized her accomplishments for 2018 — especially highlighting her service to California’s “most vulnerable population”. I was very interested to see what she had done for the largest segment of California’s most vulnerable population – seniors and the disabled – in her bold and aggressive pursuit of new representative legislation. I searched among her list for significant accomplishments for these two of California’s commonly overlooked population segments. I found nothing.

I did not even find categories for “Seniors” or “Disabled.” Senator Harris’s list of her accomplishments of 2018 demonstrates that she does not recognize, let alone represent, the majority of California’s “most vulnerable” populations. It surprises me greatly, and I am dismayed. It is a disgrace. How can an elected representative go an entire year and have nothing to say about how she served the interests of seniors and California’s disabled population?

A young woman in a dispersed crowd hold a sign stating "Feel the power of the disability vote"
A young woman in a dispersed crowd hold a sign stating “Feel the power of the disability vote”

California’s seniors and disabled have some serious political concerns, and they vote. I have come to expect that it is often not popular to champion these Americans. They do not garner a great deal of media attention. But every year an increasing number of Americans become retired, and every year there are new Americans who are unfortunately added to the ranks of the disabled.

While matters of housing, personal right, safety, quality of life, and economic survival and security are daily matters of concern to these Americans, they seem to get swept aside behind more highly visible issues of media concern. Every year I look to see if our elected leaders are taking seriously the needs of all of their constituents, and not just the ones that get the most media interest.

I have written Senator Harris and asked her: do you plan to begin including and serving “Seniors” and “Disabled” in 2019 as part of the populations you consider as among California’s most vulnerable constituents? Can we look to see if indeed the categories of “Seniors” and “Disabled” will be added to your list of priorities and concerns anytime in the next six months?

In the upcoming elections, vote for people that have shown an interest in your concerns and done something about it. Don’t base your vote on party affiliation alone. Make sure you have really looked out for your best interests. The next time you hear, “People get the government they deserve,” make sure that you deserve to be well and properly represented. After all, that is what we choose our elected representative for!

If our elected representatives will not concern themselves with California’s largest segment of vulnerable populations, who will?

With regards,

Steven Coach, Eureka, CA