If I am elected president, I will work with the disability community and Congress to ensure that persons with disabilities are fully integrated into American society. This theme of empowerment, inclusion and independence means providing education and job training so Americans with disabilities can actively contribute to our country's productivity. It means providing quality, affordable, comprehensive health care that accommodates the special health needs of Americans with disabilities. It also means more and better housing and more opportunities for people with disabilities to live independently in their own homes, in their own communities.
The swift and sure enforcement of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is crucial to the goals of independence and an end to discrimination in the workplace. The ADA is not about handouts or affirmative action, and it is not a giveaway -- it equalizes opportunity and guarantees the civil rights of American citizens with disabilities. My administration will make the implementation and enforcement of this ground-breaking legislation a top priority.
In the last four years, America has witnessed its slowest growth rate since World War H, and millions of Americans are out of work. Perhaps nowhere is this job shortage felt more than among people with disabilities. Empowering Americans means giving them the tools they need to compete in an increasingly competitive economy; while the provision of reasonable accommodations to reduce barriers to the work place are essential, adequate training is particularly important for people with disabilities. My administration will increase the amount of special education and job training for Americans with disabilities as part of national adult education, job training and apprenticeship programs.
Today, over 34 million Americans have no health coverage, and many more are underinsured. The poor management of health care costs and the inadequate distribution of services disproportionately affects Americans with disabilities. I will provide Americans with affordable, quality and comprehensive health care by taking on the insurance companies and the pharmaceutical manufacturers. In a Clinton administration, insurance companies will not be allowed to deny an individual coverage because of a "preexisting" condition. In addition to providing every American with a core benefits package, the Clinton plan will expand Medicare for disabled Americans to include more long-term care and emphasize home and community-based care that allows the individual to decide what kind of care best serves his or her needs.
Empowerment means putting people first by investing in lifetime learning -- a concerted effort to invest in the collective talents of our people. Education is more than merely the key to climbing the ladder of opportunity. It is imperative to America's long-term economic viability. For too long, education and training for Americans with disabilities has been underfunded and pushed outside of national efforts. I will work to make sure that children with disabilities receive a first-rate education, tailored to their unique needs but provided alongside their non-disabled classmates. My administration will fully fund the Head Start program and other early intervention programs that will assist children with disabilities. These children must be included in regular school activities, not shut off from their peers.
Our country suffers from a dearth of affordable housing, and again, the disability community suffers disproportionately. By raising the ceiling on the Federal Housing Authority mortgage guarantees from 65 percent to 95 percent of the price of the average American home, we can stimulate the construction industry and make the purchase of a first home a reality for many Americans. I also support a greater federal involvement in low-income, long-term housing buyout programs and more tenant management of public housing units. I will require the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Justice Department to enforce the ADA and investigate and prosecute cases involving discrimination of any kind, including discrimination against Americans with disabilities.
Independence means making our private and public transportation systems and public buildings accessible to persons with disabilities. Access to transportation and mandated compliance with federal access requirements are essential prerequisites for increased inclusion of Americans with disabilities into American society. In my National Economic Strategy, I have outlined my proposal to put every dollar by which we reduce the military budget into research and development of civilian technologies, including the world's most advanced transportation systems. We can, and must, greatly improve the integration of Americans with disabilities into society by making present and future transportation systems accessible.
During my public life as Attorney General and Governor of Arkansas, I've worked to defend the rights of Arkansans with disabilities and improve services that assist this community. A decade before the Americans with Disabilities Act, I supported efforts to give state agencies the funding they needed to make their offices accessible to staff members with disabilities. In 1985, I worked with the Arkansas state Legislature to establish the Governor' s Commission on People with Disabilities. As a result, there is increased involvement and participation of people with disabilities in both the public and private sectors. I have also actively recruited and hired persons with disabilities to serve on my staffs.
Inclusion, independence and empowerment. These will be the Clinton administration's guiding policies to improve the lives of Americans with disabilities. I have learned a tremendous amount from Senator Tom Harkin on these issues in the past, and I am looking forward to listening to new ideas on how the federal government can create unprecedented opportunities for Americans with disabilities. Now more than ever, America needs the active participation of every one of its citizens. We simply don't have a person to waste.
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|Title Annotation:||Presidential Candidates Speak Out|
|Publication:||The Exceptional Parent|
|Date:||Oct 1, 1992|
|Next Article:||The power of assistive technology.|
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