Saturday, April 19, 2008

Republicans Fail Our Special Needs Texans

April 20, 2008

Dear Neighbors,

As you may know, I have stated that one of the reasons that I am running for State Representative of District 127 is to advocate for services that the state is providing to our special needs Texans. I have been clear in my position that the Republican leadership has failed miserably in this area and our current representative has simply served as a rubber stamp for Rick Perry.

Like many District 127 residents, I have family members that are in need of these services. I have personal knowledge of the lack of funding, public awareness, medical support and of the abuses that have occurred with the Mental Health and Mental Retardation program within our state.

Recently the Houston Chronicle ran an article by Jeff Carlton with the Associated Press titled, Hundreds of state employees abused Texas patients.

This article describes the prior and pending investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice of the 13 state schools and centers that provide services to these individuals. Further, this article states that 800 employees have been suspended or fired for abusing patients since fiscal year 2004.

What I find disturbing about this article is that this abuse has been occurring at an increasing rate (180 reported incidents occurred in 2004, 203 reported incidents occurred in 2005, 200 reported incidents occurred in 2006, and 239 employees were fired in 2007).

When the Republican Governor’s office was contacted and informed of the Justice Department investigation spokesperson Allison Castle stated, “We certainly welcome their findings and the governor wants to ensure all residents of state schools receive the highest quality care.”

I find this statement unacceptable. If the Republican leadership was truly concerned about these Texas residents, why did it take an investigation from the Department of Justice to finally effect a response?

Is it the position of the Republican Party to discard of these individuals because of their disabilities? Or perhaps since most are non-voting members of our society their well being is not a top priority for the Republican leadership.

I can only assure the people of District 127 that, when elected, I will represent all residents within the district and will work to ensure quality services are provided to these Texans, with respect for human dignity.

Your Democratic Candidate for Texas House Dist. 127,
Joe A. Montemayor

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