My name is Emily Voorde. I am a campaign staffer at Pete for America, a proud South Bend native, and a person with a disability.
Before I was born, I was diagnosed with Osteogenesis Imperfecta, a condition that causes my bones to break easily. Because my bones aren’t strong enough to walk, I use a wheelchair on a daily basis.
In 2010, a young man named Pete Buttigieg was running for Mayor of South Bend. As a newly minted 18-year-old, it was finally my turn to cast a ballot. On Election Day, I arrived at my polling place only to discover three stairs stood between me and my Constitutional Right. So I scooted up those stairs. Not because I should have had to, but because I knew the man for whom I was casting my vote would do everything in his power to ensure it wouldn’t happen again.
Mayor Pete understands that disability affects Americans across race, gender, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, and religion. He values the strength of a community whose experiences are as diverse as our diagnoses. Though our disabilities are both visible and invisible, Mayor Pete recognizes the shared pain that we feel when this country tries to tell us that we’re less deserving of dignity and access.
Mayor Pete’s policy touches every facet of lived experience, from education to transportation and from health care to disaster preparedness. His plan would end the subminimum wage currently being paid to over 100,000 Americans with disabilities. A Buttigieg Administration would develop an Accessible Technology Bill of Rights as a gold standard for government and private uses of smart technologies. His plan would stop parents with disabilities from losing custody or adoption rights based on their disability, and it would ensure 85% of students with intellectual disabilities and multiple disabilities are in the general education classroom for 80% or more of the day by the end of the 2025 school year.
This new policy isn’t lip service or simply another flavor of health care policy. Pete understands that dignity and access must be ensured across all facets of our lives.