By Dan Proft
One of the good things about politics is that you come into contact with a wide cross-section of people you likely would never have otherwise met.
Five years ago when I was running for governor, I was fortunate to meet a plucky band of parents who had something in common: each of them was the parent of a child with a developmental disability.
We have established programs like Medicaid to provide for persons who need state services through no fault of their own, specifically including the developmentally disabled, because a civilized society helps to care for the truly vulnerable.
It was as a result of meeting these families that I realized how barbaric Illinois had become.
Living up to our moral and legal obligations to the developmentally disabled was no longer the order of the day. Rather, Governor Pat Quinn decreed by Executive Order (09-15 to be precise) that the developmentally disabled and their families were just another group of Illinois residents to be fleeced by the state government they finance and bullied by the public sector unions that finance Governor Quinn’s campaign.
Governor Quinn’s order allowed for the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) to unionize the state’s home health care worker program which provides a stipend for home health care workers who care for the developmentally disabled.
The key point is the home health care workers for the developmentally disabled are most often their parents.
SEIU effectively sought to forcibly intervene between parents and their children to “represent” those same parents against their children as if there were competing interests at stake.
“Sorry, son, I’d like to feed you but I’m on break. Let me refer you to our collective bargaining agreement. Don’t make me file a grievance with the union.” For Governor Quinn, it doesn’t take a village; it takes two union organizers and a business agent.
Prior to Governor Quinn unleashing the SEIU hordes, the program in question was the rare state program that actually worked: money flowed to the families, those with the greatest stake in their children’s welfare, and the families controlled how the money was spent to best serve the individual needs of their child.
Five years hence, the United States Supreme Court today heard oral arguments in the case of Harris v. Quinn.
The Harris is Pam Harris, one of the parents I met five years ago who decided, along with a group of similarly situated families, that neither Governor Quinn nor SEIU nor anyone else was going to compel her into an adversarial relationship with her disabled son.
As selfless as is the fight Pam Harris has taken up on behalf of her child and thousands of other Illinois parents with a disabled son or daughter, Ms. Harris is also fighting for you and me. Her dogged refusal to relent to the Royals demands no less than the same from the rest of us clout-free less thans.
If you would not let SEIU come between you and your child, do not let them do it to any other family in Illinois—and, on Election Day, punish those who would.