DFL candidate for US Senate hosts listening session roundtable
As delegates prepare to gather at Senate district conventions, at least one candidate is making disability issues a priority. Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer, DFL candidate for US Senate, reached out to the local disability community last month by requesting and attending a listening session on disability issues. The meeting was a chance for community members to inform Nelson-Pallmeyer on difficulties they face in their lives and work, and how federal policy affects them, for good or ill.
“You are my teachers,” said Nelson-Pallmeyer, a professor of peace and justice studies at the University of St. Thomas. “I’m here to learn how, as a U.S. Senator, I can work to make policies that make your lives better.” In true student fashion, Nelson-Pallmeyer took several pages of notes as those gathered took turns telling him how their lives, or lives of people they work with, are constrained by health-care red tape, low-payed and under-trained for PCAs, poorly funded special education, income limits to qualify for federal programs, and a host of other issues. “The cost of providing health insurance for our employees is out of control, said one leader of a small nonprofit.” Said one parent of two children with disabilities, “I have to keep taking pay cuts to stay eligible for Minnesota Care.”
Nelson-Pallmeyer is locked in a tight race for the DFL endorsement, along with Mike Ciresi and Al Franken. In the next six weeks, delegates to the party’s senate district conventions will be meeting to evaluate the three candidates and caucus for one of the three. Having a candidate who reaches out to the disability community is a good sign that “our” issues are being taken seriously. Hats off to Nelson-Pallmeyer.