Troy, NY December 3, 2010– Senator Roy McDonald and Assemblyman-elect Steve McLaughlin met with organizations that provide services to those with disabilities and their families on Thursday, December 2 at Hudson Valley Community College.
Groups represented at the event were Saratoga Bridges, Aspire NY, Wildwood, Catholic Charities, Alternative Living Group, Living Resources, along with local ARC Chapters. The local groups are part of a larger Capital Region coalition that provides services to over 1,000 individuals and their families; they requested this meeting with the elected officials to discuss the future of those services.
“We have to be thoughtful throughout this process to make certain that no one gets unnecessarily hurt,” said McDonald. “Before a cut is made or service removed that would cause trauma for a family, we need to make certain that the rest of the budget has been thoroughly reviewed and that all other options have been discussed.”
“I enjoyed and value greatly the opportunity to meet with and hear from the parents and advocates of individuals with special needs. While these are obviously incredibly difficult financial times for the state of New York, we have an obligation as a society to help those who cannot help themselves. A focal point of my campaign was reining in state spending - and that clearly has to happen - in order for New York to survive. However, I also believe that the cuts we make must make sense and actually save the state money in both the short and long term,” said Assemblyman-elect McLaughlin.
McDonald noted that organizations continuing to lobby state elected officials on the outcome of reducing service to those with disabilities would greatly help legislators understand the significance of this issue.
“Senator McDonald has proven himself time and time again as an advocate for people with developmental disabilities. He truly understands the impact a reduction in government services would have on the lives of real human beings. Agencies like Wildwood and families like mine are truly grateful for the opportunity to share with him our concerns and to hear his thoughtful responses,” said Mary Ellen Allen, Executive Director of Wildwood Programs.
“We were heartened by this meeting with Senator McDonald and Assemblyman-elect McLaughlin. We understand that it will take great political courage to represent in the legislature what they have told us today, but we have every confidence that they will do so because they appear to be people of their word,” said Gary C. Siegel, Executive Director of Catholic Charities Disabilities Services.