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White House Plans Nine-City Disability Tour


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Obama administration officials are planning to fan out across the country starting this spring for a series of regional White House conferences to address disability issues.

In a conference call last week with leaders from several disability organizations, White House officials laid out preliminary plans for the events, according to those who participated in the call.

The regional meetings are expected to be held in Columbus, Ohio; Austin, Texas; Los Angeles; Denver; Atlanta; Boston; Minneapolis; Orlando, Fla.; and Kansas City, Mo. starting in mid-March, with some scheduled into the summer.

Exact details on who from the administration will be hosting the conferences and precisely what will be on the agenda were not revealed to advocates.

“I think it’s about showing what they’ve accomplished and letting folks at the regional level know where they can go for resources,” said Chris Thomson, vice president of corporate affairs and general counsel at United Cerebral Palsy, who was on the call. “It’s a little unclear, but I definitely think it’s an opportunity for people to express their concerns.”

A White House spokesman declined to comment on the plans.

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Comments (21 Responses)

  1. Carol Tucker says:

    I’m disabled and have been discriminated against by two Washington State housing authorities, Seattle Housing Authority and Gray’s Harbor Housing Authority. I’ve been verbally abused, denied services, timely written communications, and I’ve filed two US DOJ and HUD complaints, both of which both agencies acknowledge, much less address and resolve. I’m sick, have asthma and low Ig levels, not receiving proper medical treatment, and exposed to secondhand smoke because the Seattle corporate landlord moved smokers in after claiming the property is non-smoking, and refuses to evict any of them. They even took me to court to try to prevent me from posting the truth on the Internet. Corruption in housing authorities is widespread, and there is no excuse whatsoever for govt agencies to stand by and let this happen and do NOTHING!! The White House and the President should contact me themselves. I voted for President Obama, and my next vote is going to be a write-in vote for Stephen Colbert!

  2. Lydia D. York says:

    The White House needs to look into why various HUD Housing Authorities are being allowed to violate ADA laws many times, in many different ways – consistently. It is illegal, and they should NOT be exempt from punishment.

  3. Lawrence R. Schultz, J.D., Ed. D. says:

    I am surprised that there is not more transparency regarding what will be on an apparently “hidden agenda.” If they intend for the conference to be a dialogue, then organizations advocating on behalf of those with disabilties should be involved in constructing the agenda, or at least advised of it sufficiently in advance. Otherwise, it seems to be more of an unilateral information flow.

  4. Lisbeth Nook Arbour says:

    Better still Lawrence involve those who are disabled themselves! Otherwise, as you say, it only continues the unilateral approach. All to often as a disabled person my life has been left to ruin by the lack of effectual action by those supposedly advocating for me. Their paycheck is all too often the priority set far above my need to access my civil rights.

  5. Linda Hammill says:

    I really hope the White House is realizing the whole picture of what’s coming and how disabilities are increasing. The baby boomers are getting disabling disorders like alzheimers, parkinsons, etc. While 1 out of 115 children are diagnosed with autism and that does not include thousands of other intellectual/developmental disorders (my son has Angelman Syndrome). How can disabled parents take care of disabled children? How will we be able to afford all this (SSI and Medicaid/Medicare)? Whilst people on Welfare due to unemployment,etc. Presently, President Obama is working on Healthcare and I’m glad he’s doing this. The others say, we’ll give you choice, go buy your own. Yeah right.

  6. L. Eley Driggers says:

    Oh wow! Nice to see that President Obama is acting like the progressive that I thought I had already elected. And, oh yeah! go ahead and travel to Austin, Texas, which is the last remaining enclave of support he has in Texas.
    But then. I’m still puzzled over how can it be that, a few years ago, Houston was selected as the most accessible city in America? I mean, if Houston leads, then the others must be so far behind as to be hopeless! I know! Let’s give DOD mone money and they can build an een bigger and a better bomber! YEAH!

  7. Birgitt says:

    I was desperatly waiting for Obama to adress Disability needs. I am excited and hope that Obama will protect the rights of our most vulnerable population. many cuts are currently on the chopping block and a reality adjustment to FL politicians especially Governor Scott could only help.
    My plea: we need Adult Day Training so that our disabled friends in Community Living arrangements can choose to contiously live in their parents home and parents can go to work while their adult child not only get badic needs met but also active treatment, socialization and a life close to everyones.
    I wish, Obama would visit my disabled friends!!!!

  8. Denise Shoaf says:

    This is the right thing to do and long awaited! I hope to participate in the Denver discussion and look forward to the agenda.

  9. Suzan says:

    Has anybody noticed that these sites are all in states that are traditionally Republican states or states that are in play for this 2012 presidential election? I have never heard B.O. express concern for people with disabilities until Rick Santorum talked about his advocacy for this group. This is nothing more than another Obama political game!

  10. sandy says:

    I would like President to visit Abilities United located in Palo Alto CA. I believe we have a model programs from infant to aging adults with developmental disorders.

  11. Lisa Franklin Pres. Warriors on Wheels of Metro Detroit says:

    I am an advocate for people with disabilities in the Detroit Metropolitan area. We have grave issues on a daily basis that are affecting lives of people with disabilities in this region, who want to work and live independently. Issues from Transportation to Employment to Universal Housing, Civic Access and Accomodations. We need a spotlight on Detroit and our concerns. We fought for an Office of Disability Concerns to no avail. Please add Detroit to the next round of cities you plan to visit. Thank you!

  12. kenneth stallings says:

    why can’t the president come here to Raleigh North Carolina and find out what is going on in the disabiled communtiy here we are losing our services here and that is not right for us to do that we have the right to get the srevices but the state is cuting peoples service like crazy that is not far at all so it would be nice for the president to come here and talk to the disabiled communtiy here in Raleigh North Carolina .

  13. Peggy Kelley says:

    Disabilied individuals need to know dates and times in advance. They have to make special arrangements for baths and transportation. Please make sure that all know with at least a 7 days notice. Thank you for this consideration

  14. June Stubbs says:

    My grandson is a very intelligent individual, diagnoised with cerebral palsy. He uses crutches, and because of his physical appearance, he was always looked at by school officials as incapable of preforming. He never received the education assistance that he required in order to become a productive member of society. The most disgusting remark I have ever heard from an educator came from a superintendant, who asked me,” Why does he need a diploma anyway? What does he want to do with his life?” After an uphill battle, he finally received his diploma. He doesn’t realize that colleges, and vo-techs are much different places, and at 19 he refuses to try any of them. His socialization mostly comes from the anime community via the internet. The point is that if individuals are not nurtured to thrive in an educational envoirnment, they become burdeons to society. Wouldn’t it make a lot of sense to treat them with the care, and respect that others receive? I feel had he received the proper training at an early age, he would be attending college, training for a job he could use to support himself with. It is an injustice to individuals with disabilities to treat them in such a manner, but it happens almost without exception. I always wonder who named special education, because I have never found it to be special, or educational. Things need to change.

  15. Cheryl Wisecup says:

    This is a good idea, but I hope he considers the large number of people who are ill because of mold and other indoor contaminants. Indoor air pollutants cause 50% of illnesses globally. Many people are ill and suffering.



  17. Irene Tunanidas says:

    February 8, 2012

    I am an advocate on deaf rights and I am seeing unemployment rate rising in the Deaf Community.
    This needs to be addressed because not all employers in various vocational fields are deaf-friendly.
    GM Corporation in Michigan and Minnesota have hired deaf workers. Why not in Ohio??

  18. Jack Williams says:

    Cronyism is alive and well in DC. If you thought that it had gone away with the previous administration you are dead wrong. The lead for this effort shows that alone. An appointee who comes not from the disability community but from the “please elect Obama” camp. The shame of it all is that the Position and it’s title leads the public to believe that the Person filling this position has the experience and legitimacy to be considered an expert and permission to represent the disability community. However, this couldn’t be farther from the truth and is one of the many reasons positive changes have not occurred. this is just one of the many cases currently in DC where people were chosen by the administration, not the disability community. Until this changes we will continue to see weak leadership trying to make changes to a community which they have not been a Part of, not participated in and don’t understand. People who care more about talking up an administration and less about making any actual changes that improve peoples lives. Nothing about us without us!!!!!!!!

  19. Rose Moroe says:

    How come Las Vegas, NV was not included since we are the 5th largest school district in the nation and the bottom of education in the United States. We are the ones that really need this information and we, the public KNOW what is need for Special Education Kids that is not being done here.. It’s time for the government to make a more reasonable decision, on stats, where these meeting should be.

  20. Marilyn McClure, Missouri says:

    Have the dates/times been released yet? I don’t want to go if its a campaign stop or photo opportunity. Special Education needs to be addressed; the USDOE has no backbone when dealing with schools which gives the impresion that our students don’t matter.

  21. Shawn Lawrence says:

    I am glad to see that the Obama administration is showing an efford to bring disabilities to the front of the health care debate. In Virginia by 2030, just 18 years from now 1 in 4 Virginians will be 60 and over. This is going to add to an already overburden medicaid system. Why in America, the grestest and most powerful nation on earth not be able to take care of their elderly, disable, and homeless? When people have to pick between food and medication, between shelter and transportation. Is it cheaper to live or die. We have a real problem and the divid between the haves and the have nots is growing wider. We have to get our leaders to come together for the good of the country.

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