As you may recall, in April 2003, I embarked on a 225 mile walk from Chicago to Springfield. My walk was the focus of countless newspaper articles, TV and radio stories, and resulted in the passage of 2 House resolutions supporting my efforts.
My walk was intended to bring attention to the lack of adherence to current State law 20ILCS 2420, the Blind Persons Operating Vending Facilities Act. My walk raised awareness of this issue and we began receiving support and advice from members of Illinois’ General Assembly.
It seemed that many members of the General Assembly were in agreement that our best course of action was to draft new legislation. In fact in a December 2005 meeting with 2 of your staff members, Deputy Chief of Staff Louanner Peters and Special Projects Coordinator Seth Webb I was given the same advice and told that you would support such legislation.
As a result on January 12, 2006 Senate Bill 2330, the Blind Vendor Act was introduced by Senator Mike Jacobs. This legislation is designed to create employment opportunities for blind people. You may not know, but there is an unemployment rate of over 70% among blind people.
I am sure by now you and your staff has had an opportunity to review this legislation and formulate a position.
This legislation has the potential to be a model for every state in the country and by supporting and signing SB 2330 it will demonstrate your willingness to courageously and boldly take action to help disabled people find jobs. In addition you will win the hearts, support and let’s not forget the votes of thousands of disabled citizens and their families.
It is disheartening however to hear rumors in the Capital that your office is doing everything possible in back hallways to derail this legislation. I can only hope these rumors are false.
Your campaign emphasizes your commitment to creating new jobs in Illinois, I am sure this commitment is not designed to exclude blind people.
Therefore I am asking you to publicly state your position on Senate Bill 2330. Be proud of what can be accomplished by this legislation.
Thursday April 20, 2006 will mark the third anniversary of my walk. To commemorate this historic event I will be retracing the last mile of my journey to the Capital, where I will be holding a press conference to speak about Senate Bill 2330. I will be inviting the over 100 members of the General Assembly who support SB 2330 to join me. In addition I am inviting you to stand beside me and pledge your support for SB 2330.
It is easy to hide from a blind person; you just need to be quiet and sneaky. Your absence Thursday and your failure to voice your opinion on SB 2330 however will be deafening.
I look forward to seeing you on Thursday.
Illinois Committee of Blind Vendors
Cc Illinois General Assembly
110 Illinois media outlets
The Campaign to Elect Judy Barr Tapinka Governor