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Candidates talk about issues important to disabled community

Ellen Abbott
WRVO News (file photo)
A candidate forum on disabled issues was held in Syracuse Thursday. Rep. John Katko can be seen in the back right, facing the camera.

At a forum in Syracuse Thursday, members of the disabled community were able to explain to local, state and federal candidates the issues that mean the most to them during this election season.

Issues that impact people with disabilities run the gamut -- from access to housing, to the disabled sub-minimum wage, to making sure hearing impaired immigrants have support in their native language.

Rep. John Katko (R-Camillus), who’s running for re-election in the 24th Congressional District, says he supports several bills in Congress that affect the disabled population. He says ultimately the issues come down to inclusion.

"And we have to do more to make sure our programs and public assistance facilities give them the ability to be more inclusive in the community instead of being institutionalized or being forced to go into an institution-like setting becuase of Section 8 housing drawbacks,” said Katko.

Colleen Deacon, the Democrat candidate trying to unseat Katko, vows to represent the disabled community if she goes to Washington. She says this kind of forum is what campaigning is all about.

"It’s about reaching out to the people of this district. Talking to the people, understanding what the concerns are and bringing them back to Washington to actually get something done. I’m excited to go to Congress and be a voice for people who don’t have a voice.”

Ellen produces news reports and features related to events that occur in the greater Syracuse area and throughout Onondaga County. Her reports are heard regularly in regional updates in Morning Edition and All Things Considered.