As many of you may know and some of you may not know I am assisted by a service animal. Her name is Rio and she is a 12 year old Border Collie/Heller mix. She travels with me most everywhere I go and generally is nearly invisible. Her job is to stay focused on me which allows me to do my job. It’s a great partnership we have and as a result I can maintain my health as well as my fast paced lifestyle. I seldom acknowledge her in public and only on rare occasion do I speak about my personal disabilities. Unfortunately this can lead to some confusion and misunderstandings. So in the interest of transparency and advocacy for people with disabilities I’ve decided to broach this topic.
Saturday, Heather Heyer was killed in an act of terrorism, by an American citizen on American soil. A violent, cowardly act fueled by hatred and bigotry. Before I had chance to come to terms with what had happened and the devastating human cost, the digital debate about “free speech” and 1st Amendment rights began to rage. Blame was passed around like a hot potato from organizers, to protesters, to the police, to everyone and everything fueling more division, anguish and pain.
We’ve been crunching a lot of numbers since Tuesday and planning our strategy moving forward with most of these planning sessions happen in my kitchen. The benefits to this very organic way of planning and looking at things is that it keeps us focused on what’s important and focused on the realities of living in the 7th. Realities like internet connections won’t support video conferencing, realities like August in the 7th is when we work, we fix fences, cut firewood, work fire lines, put up hay, tend gardens and get ready for winter. We don’t have time for endless meetings or frivolous conversation. So we do the best we can and keep moving forward.
It’s not quite 7am and I was up until 1 am watching C-span to see if my fellow Americans would be losing their ability to get health insurance. My daughter Amelia was texting me, so upset, so anxious, so worried because this vote and this entire health care issue affects her every day. She lives no more than 72 hours without medical care. That’s real, that’s raw and that makes this very personal.
At no time did she mention holding the Capital Budget hostage over the Hirst Decision. So imagine my surprise and I’m guessing the surprise of the attendees at the forum when on Thursday the Republican led Senate refused to vote on the budget before adjourning from their third special session. Our legislators spent 193 days in session and left without funding the $4 billion in projects approved during those sessions. These projects ensure our compliance with McCleary, create 19,000 good living wage jobs, provide for Mental Health services, Parks, WDFW, DNR and so on. Again $4 BILLION dollars in projects put on hold until Jan 2018 at the earliest.