Saturday, February 9, 2013
Jake and the Utah State Legislature, Part II
Here’s a clip of Jacob’s testimony before the Utah State Legislature’s Social Services Appropriations Subcommittee:
So, there’s more to the story, now:
Thursday morning, I got a call from Jodi saying that she’d just been told that on KSL talk radio, Doug Wright had played the recording of Jacob’s testimony before the Utah State Legislature and commented on it. That was pretty exciting, because it showed me immediately what I’d already known, that Jake’s words were touching people.
Right away, I called KSL and said “I’m Jacob’s father and I was there when he testified!” The screener taking my call, got really excited and said, “Let me call you back in about an hour and we might be able to get you on the air with Doug.”
I waited, and they called back, and we did, in fact get me on the air. It was fun and Doug was a very insightful interviewer. Hopefully, all of that publicity will help more people to be aware of the financial plight of the disabled.
One thing I noticed at the Utah State Legislature committee meeting and I tried to bring out in the interview was this: A lot of the testimony shared that day was by disabled adults talking about how the services that they get from the state government have helped them to become independent, and to get productive, real employment, in the non-disabled world. One guy I met there was very friendly and personable, and he and I got to talking about wheelchairs, because his is the same brand as Jacobs. When he testified, he talked about being able to go to work as a software engineer.
Another guy has a degree and works in the Disability Law Center. A lady there told about her job in an office in Salt Lake.
My point is that this is not a collection of takers and leeches. These are now productive, employed, tax-paying adults. Our great society has invested in them, and now they are contributing to society in meaningful, practical ways.
Someday, Jacob will be out in the workforce. I can already see ways that he’ll be able to contribute, and he’s looking forward to a long and productive life.
As Jacob says, “What am I worth?”