September 7, 2006

Ross Doerr
Disability Rights Center
PO Box 2007
Augusta, ME 04338-9961

Dear Ross,

Enclosed please find the Candidate Questionnaire you asked me to fill out. As you can see, I agreed with your position on 16 out of 17 questions, and I explained where we differed on that one (Question 12).

Rather than use the form you sent, I downloaded your form from your website, filled in my answers, and printed out the pages. While the "Yes/No" answers do not line up on the right edge, having it in digital form allows us to post the questionnaire on our website:

This way, your internet-savvy members can visit that site at their convenience to see my responses.

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to address the issues that are of concern to you and your members.

Jean Hay Bright

All Maine Votes, c/o Disability Rights Center
PO Box 2007
Augusta ME 04338

Questionnaire for Federal Candidates
Please return by Monday, September 18

CANDIDATE NAME:    Jean Hay Bright______________________________

PARTY AFFILIATION:  Democrat____________________________________


Additional Comments (please identify which question is being addressed):
Questions 1 thru 4. I believe it is a basic function and responsibility of government to provide its citizenry with opportunities to reach their full potential. These first four questions speak directly to that issue.

Question 9. Another governmental responsibility is to promote the general welfare, which includes assuring our elderly and our disabled a decent and respectful baseline income in retirement and/or when they are not able to work. Social Security must be protected in its current form. It has proven its worth over the decades.

Questions 10 & 11, and 13 thru 15. A keynote issue in my campaign is establishing national health care. We are the last industrialized nation without it. It's time.

Question 12. I believe proving eligibility for Medicaid is important to prevent abuses and fraud. Rather than repeal the law requiring such proof, if that indeed turns out to be a hindrance, we should provide more governmental assistance in obtaining the essential records.

  1. Housing. The connection between poverty and disability is well documented, and affordable housing is crucial for many people with disabilities, particularly those who are leaving institutional settings. Although poverty and disability rates have risen substantially in recent years, affordable housing funding has fallen behind need. Would you vote for sufficient affordable housing funding to meet current needs?    YES    NO

  2. Employment. Funding for programs that promote employment opportunity for people with disabilities, such as the Ticket to Work and Work Incentive program, has remained fairly flat in recent years, even though the rate of disability in the population is increasing. Do you support funding increases for employment initiatives for people with disabilities?    YES    NO

  3. Transportation. Access to public transportation is essential for many people with disabilities to live and work independently. Would you support additional funding to improve provision and accessibility of public transportation, particularly in rural areas?    YES    NO

  4. Education. The U.S. government spends over $12 billion per year on special education, yet local school systems often use federal special education money for purposes for which it was not intended. Would you support increased oversight and accountability, to ensure that children with disabilities receive the full benefit of federal funds?    YES    NO

  5. Judiciary [Senate Candidates]. Many recent federal judicial nominees have been hostile to laws that protect the rights of people with disabilities, and have engaged in judicial activism to reduce the effectiveness of those laws. Will you oppose nominees, by filibuster if necessary, whose records suggest that they will engage in similar activism against disability rights laws?    YES    NO

  6. ADA. In the 16 years since passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act, a landmark civil rights law, many loopholes have emerged, some of which were created by federal court decisions that have interpreted the law too narrowly. Would you support legislation to close the gaps in the ADA, to fulfill the promise of equal rights for all citizens?    YES    NO

  7. Enforcement. Currently, when noncompliance with federal accessibility laws such as the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Rehabilitation Act, and the Help America Vote Act hurts people with disabilities, the victims frequently bear the burden of enforcing the law. Would you support increased funding and oversight for federal agencies to bring enforcement actions, and for legal services organizations to provide client assistance, to ensure an equal playing field in the workplace and beyond?    YES    NO

  8. Advocacy. Funding for organizations that protect and advocate for the rights of people with disabilities, across all areas of disability, has failed to keep up with the growing rates of disability in the population. Would you support increased funding for such organizations?    YES    NO

  9. Social Security. The President has proposed to begin phasing out the Social Security program and replacing it with a system of private investment accounts. Would you oppose this proposal, and any other proposal that replaces some or all of the guaranteed benefit under Social Security?    YES    NO

  10. Medicaid funding. Tens of millions of Americans rely on Medicaid for health insurance. Rates of poverty and disability are rising, as are health care costs, yet Medicaid funding has not kept up. Would you support increased Medicaid funding to better reflect these realities?    YES    NO

  11. Medications. With respect to the federal prescription drug benefit, provided under Medicare Part D, would you support legislation to:

    a. Significantly diminish the complexity of the program?    YES    NO

    b. Significantly enhance consumer protections?    YES    NO

    c. Eliminate the arbitrary "donut hole" in coverage?    YES    NO

    d. Give the federal government the power to negotiate for lower prescription drug prices?    YES    NO

    e. Remove the clawback payment that States must pay before their citizens can participate?    YES    NO

  12. Access to Medicaid. Medicaid laws were recently changed to make it more difficult and expensive for Medicaid applicants and beneficiaries to provide the required proof of citizenship to receive benefits. This will create a particular hardship for many people with disabilities. Would you vote to repeal these changes to the law?    YES    NO

  13. Medicaid flexibility. Federal legislation has significantly limited States' ability to provide services that allow individuals with mental illness and other disabilities to live in the community. Would you support returning that power to the States, to help them meet community integration obligations under the Supreme Court's Olmstead decision?    YES    NO

  14. Medicaid guidance. The Deficit Reduction Act has created much confusion for State Medicaid policymakers, who cannot determine whether their Medicaid plans comply with the law. Would you support legislative pressure on the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to provide clarity, or in the alternative, clarifying legislation?    YES    NO

  15. Universal health coverage. Over 40 million Americans lack health insurance, and that number has been growing in recent years. Would you support legislation to ensure that all Americans have health care coverage comparable to that available under the Medicare and Medicaid programs?    YES    NO

  16. Consumer protection. Consumer protections in Maine's health insurance laws protect all Maine consumers. Would you reject federal legislation that would allow out-of-state insurance companies to sell insurance in Maine without these protections?    YES    NO

  17. Have you ever employed or worked closely with an individual with a disability?    YES    NO

    If yes, please feel free to explain more.

    Uncle, amputee from a childhood accident
    Father, lost hearing working in steel mill
    Brother-in-law, severe diabetic, needed dialysis, died from complications of the disease
    Friends and campaign volunteers, legally blind
    Friends and campaign volunteers, bipolar
    Campaign veterans' advisor and coordinator, veteran in a wheelchair