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MRDD will ask for fair share of funds

County MR/DD officials will brainstorm today on a campaign to increase the board’s fair share of state funding as they prepare for a rally in Columbus next week.

Tuesday, September 26, 2000

County MR/DD officials will brainstorm today on a campaign to increase the board’s fair share of state funding as they prepare for a rally in Columbus next week.

"Gov. Taft has begun his biennial budget process," said Jim Thacker, superintendent of the Lawrence County Board of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities (MR/DD). "Our goal is to make Gov. Bob Taft aware of the needs disabled individuals have and in doing so, we are now asking the parents of Lawrence County to become involved."

The board recently sent letters to parents and their disabled children asking them to attend a meeting today that will educate them on the statewide rally Oct. 3, Thacker said.

That rally, staged by a coalition of MR/DD boards across the state, is expected to spur state support for the organizations.

"Our meeting today serves a two-fold purpose," he said. "We first want to inform the parents, guardians and interested persons of the campaign we’ve got going. Secondly, we want to educate these participants on what effect the campaign will have for our consumers and what it may or may not do for those individuals."

The board also encourages interested individuals to ban together for the Columbus rally, he said.

Thacker expected today’s meeting participants to make posters with one common message: "Now it’s our turn."

"We’re doing this to encourage Gov. Taft to place the funding in his budget proposal that our consumers need," he said.

Thacker said the campaign goal is an increase in money to aid residential support programs.

More than 7,000 disabled individuals statewide are in need of residential support because parents and guardians are becoming unable to continue providing for their loved ones as they grow older, he said.

"During this campaign preparation, we hope to make enough posters to form a circle around the state house," he said. "We are simply developing and coordinating a grass-roots movement for more funding."

The MR/DD board will provide transportation to individuals interested in participating in the rally, Thacker said.

"We are planning to leave around 11 a.m. next Tuesday and hopefully, Gov. Taft will help us in his budget proposal," he said. "If enough parents, and even our consumers, become involved, I think we can accomplish our goal."