Dart To Congress on MiCASA

March 12, 1998

Washington, D.C.

My name is Justin Dart. I am here today to call on the Congress, the President, and the nation to translate the rhetoric of free enterprise into action that will give real choices to people with disabilities and older Americans to participate in theAmerican Dream.

I am a Republican. It was my privilege to serve in the Reagan, Bush and Clinton administrations. I have been a wheelchair user For fifty years. I am an older American.

I speak today on behalf of hundreds of thousands of disabled and older Americans who are incarcerated in institutions, nursing homes, and back rooms without due process of law because of the lack of the most elementary services that would allow them to live and work In their communities and be with their families.

I recently suffered a severe attack of congestive heart failure. If I could not afford to pay my magnificent personal care assistant, Michael Contee, I would not be living in my home with those I love And I would not be here with you today. I would be imprisoned in a hospital or a nursing home. Millions are not financially able to make the beautiful choice I have made.

Mr. Chairman, I got out of bed to testify today. I don't know how long I will be on this earth. But I'm going to fight with every breath I have left for a society in which every single person has real choices about where they live, about where they work and how they spend their days.

I urge action for the strongest possible version of the CASA bill, and far beyond action for the principle of real choice in all Aspects of life.

Mr. Chairman, some say that home services are too expensive. On the contrary, appropriate community based services will profit government, business, tax payers and every family. The productivity of the nation will increase.

What could be more Republican, what could be more Democrat. What could be more in a harmony with family values and reducing national Debt, what could be more American than enabling hundreds of thousands of people to get out of institutions and into their homes and the productive mainstream.

Mr. Chairman, let us join together, our great Congress, our great President, government at all levels, business, religion and all Americans. Let us join together, people with physical and mental disabilities, minorities, labor, all who struggle for justice.

Let us unite in action to keep the sacred pledge: one Nation under God, Indivisible, with Liberty and Justice For All.

Justice for all means real choice for all.

Mr. Chairman, Mr. President, we have talked long enough. I plead for action to free our people to live their God given potential.

-- Fred fay Jfa@mailbot.com Justice for all moderator Http://www.mailbot.com/justice