I’m pleased to share the following updates and information on the Chapter’s government relations work. As always, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me if you have questions on our legislative priorities, suggestions for issues to explore, or would like to be more involved in our government relations activities going forward. I look forward to a busy and productive fall!

New England PVA conducts Congressional Briefings throughout New England

Throughout the year, I meet with the district office staff of our New England Congressional Delegation. The objectives of these meetings are to give our Representatives a better sense of who we are as an organization, highlight the needs and challenges of our members, and to discuss our Chapter’s legislative priorities. This past month, I had the opportunity to speak with district staff members for Senator Whitehouse (D,RI), Congressman Moulton (D,MA), Congressman Keating (D,MA), Congresswoman Pressley (D,MA), and Congresswoman Kuster (D,NH).

Among other issues, we discussed the importance of protecting specialized services at SCI Centers, how our members shouldn’t have to shoulder the burden of the full cost of an adapted automobile, and why Congress should make access to IVF a permanent part of the medical benefits package at the VA. We also discussed our work at the state level to ensure non-discriminatory Crisis Standards of Care guidelines are created throughout New England, and discussed the importance of ensuring that each of our members will be able to safely cast a ballot in the upcoming election.

All of the staff members were very engaged in the discussion and each committed to speaking with their boss about these issues. I look forward to following up with each office and letting you know who officially pledges their support on our priorities. If you have any questions on the issues we discussed, or would like me to raise an issue on your behalf in the future, please don’t hesitate to let me know.

Getting Out the VOTE

Election season is here! Our National PVA office is working hard to ensure that paralyzed veterans, and the larger disability community as well, do not encounter accessibility challenges while voting either in person or by mail. Our colleagues in DC are urging all members to create a voting access plan now, to ensure you are able to cast your vote both safely and securely. For more information on what to consider while making your plan, as well as a state-by-state comparison on early voting policies, please visit PVA.org/vote. Please also be on the lookout for information regarding an upcoming webinar for PVA members on voting during the pandemic!

Should you encounter any issues while voting, or have concerns about the accessible voting options in your state, please contact your Protection & Advocacy System immediately and let us know as well. The contact information for all Protection & Advocacy Systems in New England are below:

Connecticut
Disability Rights Connecticut 846 Wethersfield Ave. Hartford, CT 06114 800-842-7303 (toll free in CT) 860-297-4300 (voice) 860-509-4992 (videophone) info@disrightsct.org www.disrightsct.org

Maine
Disability Rights Maine 160 Capitol Street, Suite 4 Augusta, ME 04330 800.452.1948 (V/TTY) 207.626.2774 (V/TTY) 207.621.1419 (FAX) advocate@drme.org

Massachusetts
Disability Law Center
11 Beacon Street, Suite 925 Boston, MA 02108 617-723-8455 or 800-872-9992 mail@dlc-ma.org

New Hampshire
Disability Rights Center NH
64 North Main Street,
Suite 2, 3rd Floor,
Concord, NH 03301-4913
(603) 228-0432 or 1-800-834-1721 mail@drcnh.org

Rhode Island
Disability Rights Rhode Island Providence, RI 02903
Voice: (401) 831-3150
33 Broad Street, Suite 601 info@drri.org

Vermont
Disability Rights Vermont 141 Main St., Ste.7 Montpelier, VT 05602
Toll Free 1-800-834-7890 Tel: (802) 229-1355 info@disabilityrightsvt.org

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