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Iowans with Disabilities Converge on State Capitol Today

PHOTO: There are hundreds of thousands of Iowans with disabilities, and some of them will be at the state Capitol this week, meeting with lawmakers and learning more about how to be engaged in the political process. Photo credit: Jim Bowen/Flickr.
PHOTO: There are hundreds of thousands of Iowans with disabilities, and some of them will be at the state Capitol this week, meeting with lawmakers and learning more about how to be engaged in the political process. Photo credit: Jim Bowen/Flickr.
April 22, 2015

DES MOINES, Iowa - From every corner of the state, individuals with disabilities are converging on the Iowa Capitol today to take part in Advocating for Change Day.

Becky Harker, executive director of the Iowa Developmental Disabilities Council, said the day is a chance for people to meet with their legislators and become educated on the inner workings of the political process.

"What we offer them is an opportunity to learn more about how the Capitol works," she said, "how to interact and develop a message and make a request of a legislator so that they can then go to the Capitol and have the interaction that they would like to have."

While individuals with disabilities are interested in matters that impact all Iowans such as jobs, health and the environment, Harker said, there's an added focus on making sure communities across the state are welcoming and inclusive for those with disabilities.

"It's a right of Iowans to participate in political and civic processes," she said, "and so this is an important opportunity for people to exercise that right and to let the people who represent them know what's important to them."

In Iowa, about 350,000 people are living with some type of a disability.

Information on Advocating for Change Day is online at idaction.org. Statistics on Iowans with disabilities are at iowadatacenter.org.

John Michaelson, Public News Service - IA