Kayla, Congress, DC discussed on The Lucky Few
You see that? I know that I'm the luckiest person in DC to be able to to to work every day with people like Kayla and and in D C so long that when you work is it like a team or is actually a part of a team and if so, how many are on that team? And yeah, absolutely. So at the national Down syndrome society that we have are National advocacy and public policy Center. So both Kaylin, I work there. We have a number of other team members some that hands off, you know different kind of policies and and areas that we look at and you know some that are in charge like Kayla of making sure that our community is is behind what we're what we're doing and and making sure that they're reaching out to their members of Congress to help get things done and all of that so we have about six people on our team which is dead. Is really really great. You know, it's a it's a small team compared to you know, other organizations and and things like that in DC but we're able to get a lot of things done just because there's so much passion and love for the work that we do and you know, we all know how important it is. So we work hard and we get things done, right Kayla exactly. Yes, cats. Yeah. We appreciate all of that work Kayla. We haven't seen you in two years. You're looking lovely as ever darling. But the last time we spoke you were lobbying for the able to work at home to where are we at with that two years later to use later. I'm very happy to say it past amazing job. Now you can save their money into a table accounts even better. So good. Definitely. It's so good so good, but I'm still liveing. I was just talking with members of Congress. I fell volt and other speaking engagements but since March everything slowed down because of covid-19. I am home. I have been grounded at home and I've been I'm still lobbying. I'm just you know, like there's always Zoom really Congressional mediums. I'm speaking at at Bush family like yesterday and just had a big speed with the Bank of America and I love, cuz I really love just being able to continue to lobby and just speak and definitely split in on message. Absolutely. Yes. That's amazing Kayla. Have you has it been difficult doing your speeches over Zoom, or do you kind of like it more? Honestly, I like it should be face-to-face, but I understand on the need to do it over the zoom because it was impacting us tonight. Yes, so I'm looking forward to ending covid-19 pandemic. You can go back to square Lane back to walking and Capitol Hill's being able to do everything face face to face again God. Oh me too. Yeah, same girl. Okay. So what what are you working on right now? What are some things you're currently lobbying for and both of you either you can take this question definitely actually don't take you before I take it over a month or so, you know as Kayla said we we all kind of had to shift everything that we were working on in March and you know from an advocacy perspective. We had to really look at what our computer Nitty needs during this this crazy time. So, you know, we were reaching out to our community. We took surveys on what the most pressing issues are facing during this pandemic are and we identified three priorities that were pushing on Capitol Hill to ensure that you know, our people get get what they need during this time. So, you know, one of the big issues is funding for Medicaid home and community-based services. So those services are so crucial to you folks in our community who need, you know, extra support to live independently and to stay out of you know, things like institutions and under congregate settings where we know that the virus spread very rapidly. So this funding, you know is very important during normal times to help people stay out of of settings like this, but it's even more crucial now because of the risk of the virus SpongeBob, They're so you know, that funding is is crucial additionally back when the what was called the cares Act passed in Congress. There was a stimulus check that many Americans received. unfortunately because of that because of the way the definition of dependent was written in the law individuals who are over the age of Seventeen, but still claimed as dependence on their parents taxes were not able to receive any money. So this was so many of the adults with Gavin syndrome in our community who are still claimed on their parents or their caregivers taxes. They miss out on all of that wage money, which was kind of I think a shock to our community because so many people were were expecting it. And then just kind of didn't receive a check. We started getting calls about you know, when their stimulus Jack was getting there and we looked into and said, you know, it's not coming. So we both are you know, really pushing for whenever the next stimulus package comes out whenever the next economic relief package comes out that that issue is is a draft choice. And then finally, you know, there are so many in our community who are doing virtual schooling or some sort of hybrid model and you know, it's just not conducive to so many of the services that students with Down syndrome and other disabilities receive. So it's so hard to do things like occupational therapy and physical therapy virtually and we know that our students are are being set setback. So we want to ensure that when things are, you know perfectly back to normal and everything is in in school again, and they can receive those therapies that there's some funding for compensatory services to help catch them back up to where they should be. That's a full now that was a full plate. What can you tell us like walk us through? What does that look like, you know, so you're doing those things is that look like meetings phone calls, are me with both all different sides all different parties. All different individuals is just like a bipartisan thing. What what does that look like? Absolutely for you know, these everybody is Faith is very focused in DC and has been you know, since March on on these issues. So it's a lot of meetings, you know, unfortunately, I live about a mile and a half from the capital but I'm you know in my in my apartment on Zoom from about 9 a.m. Until 7 p.m. Depending on the day, but you know, it's a lot of meetings. It's it's something important though that the people who are making these decisions on what it is included in the next package here from our community and here why these things are important and that's where somebody like wage. Kayla is is so you know helpful and effective because it's one thing for me to be telling decision-makers. What's important to the Down Syndrome Community bumper hear it from from somebody with Down Syndrome. It's an entirely it changes the dynamic wouldn't you say Kayla? I was definitely say so and it's hard for them to say no to a self-advocate when we are pushing these priorities because we hope will shading no mines and we're not going to stop knocking on doors or not going to assume dewa's and they're just keep pushing. Knocking on the same doors. I know.