by Andy Rausch
Fort Scott resident Joe Reinecker, 59, suffers from Cerebral Palsy. The condition was first diagnosed when Reinecker was four. “I’ve found out that the older I get, the worse my Cerebral Palsy gets,” says Reinecker.”I wish someone would have told me at the time that when you get older, when you’re almost age 60, this is gonna get worse and you’re gonna have to handle it this way or that way.” But no one did, so as the years have passed, Reinecker has had to constantly readjust the way he approaches things due to the evolution of his condition.
One of the changes has been an increased difficulty in mobility. “I walk a lot slower now,” says Reinecker, who now uses forearm crutches to assist him. “When I was a kid in school I could run and I could get somewhere fairly quickly. As I get older, I’m not fast at all. It’s a lucky day if I can go fast from the living room to the bathroom.”
Reinecker has found a valued ally in SKIL, which he first discovered when the organization purchased KSEK in Pittsburg. After sixteen years as the assistant to the Director of Community Relations at Fort Scott Community College, Reinecker was seeking a new career path. “The radio station was looking for someone to help on the air,” recalls Reinecker. “I’d always wanted to work in radio, so it was perfect for me. When I was 10-years-old I used to sit in my house and play records and dream about the possibility of becoming a DJ. I had always loved radio, so this was right up my alley.”
Reinecker applied to work at KSEK and was eventually hired as a board operator during high school sporting events. That job soon evolved into an opportunity to work as a disc jockey, allowing him to finally achieve his childhood dream of being an on-air personality. “I did a rock-and-roll show from six to nine a.m.,” Reinecker explains. “I got to play classic rock, like the Beatles and the Rolling Stones.”
In 2015, SKIL sold the radio station to a new owner. “Everybody who worked there lost their job except for me,” says Reinecker. “The reason I didn’t get fired is because SKIL thought I could do the Resource Central podcast for their website. [Business Manager] Bill Cochran told me, ‘We think you can do this because people will be able to look at disability issues through your eyes.’ That’s why they kept me around, and I’m extremely thankful.” The podcast eventually died an untimely death in early 2018, but Reinecker remains a SKIL employee, working in public relations and generating material for the agency’s website.
His relationship with SKIL ultimately led to his receiving assistive services through the Working Healthy program. This program allows him to have in-home assistance with daily activities, such as house cleaning, meal preparation, and grocery shopping. “I wouldn’t have known about the Working Healthy program if it hadn’t been for my becoming affiliated with SKIL through my work at the radio station. I’m extremely thankful for both SKIL and the Working Healthy program. It has been instrumental in my being able to continue living a quality life in my own home.”
The House of Representatives is planning to vote on the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Education and Reform Act (H.R. 620) next week!
That means we only have a week to stop this terrible bill.
Take Action Now!
Contact your Representative today and urge them to vote NO on H.R. 620. All Representatives can be reached through the U.S. Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121 or (202) 224-3091 (TTY). You can find additional contact information and direct numbers at contactingcongress.org ( http://www.contactingcongress.org/ ). You can also use Resistbot ( https://resistbot.io/ ) to turn texts into faxes, mail, or hand-delivered letters, fax your members of Congress (use faxzero.com to find their fax number), or contact your Representative on social media with contact information from Contacting Congress ( https://contactingcongress.org/ ).
Keep your message simple. Use the background information below to discuss the dangers of this bill, and share your personal stories about how the ADA provides you greater access to your community! And, let them know that their disabled constituents will be watching how they vote and will hold them accountable!
Note: All Representatives need to hear from us, but we have included a list of particularly important targets below.
H.R. 620 would create additional barriers to seeing our rights enforced under the ADA and make it harder to participate in mainstream society. Importantly, H.R. 620 would not solve the problems it claims to address. It would not stop fraudulent lawsuits or demand letters, but it would weaken the civil rights of people with disabilities! Moreover, it would eliminate any reason for businesses to comply with the ADA unless they receive a legal notice first. You can find additional information by looking at the following resources:
- NCIL’s letter opposing H.R. 620, signed by 507 organizations ( http://www.advocacymonitor.com/letter-opposing-the-ada-education-and-reform-act/ )
- CCD and allies letter - PDF ( http://www.c-c-d.org/fichiers/UPDATED-CCD-and-Allies-Letter-of-Opposition-for-The-ADA-Education-and-Reform-Act-of-2017-H.R.620-Sept-7-2017.pdf )
- CCD H.R. 620 myth / trust document - PDF ( http://www.c-c-d.org/fichiers/Myths-and-Truths-About-the-ADA-Education-and-ReformAct-FINAL-7-21-17.pdf )
Reminder: all Representatives need to hear from us, but the Representatives listed below are especially urgent targets.
- New Mexico
Alabama: Terri Sewell (Cosponsor)
Arizona: Kyrsten Sinema (Cosponsor)
- Pete Aguilar (Cosponsor)
- Ami Bera (Cosponsor)
- Luis Correa (Cosponsor)
- Jim Costa (Cosponsor)
- Zoe Lofgren
- Scott Peters (Cosponsor)
- Jackie Speier (Cosponsor)
Colorado: Jared Polis
Florida: Stephanie Murphy
Illinois: Bill Foster (Cosponsor)
Nevada: Jacky Rosen
New Mexico: Collin Peterson
New York: Kathleen Rice (Cosponsor)
Oregon: Kurt Schrader
- Mike Doyle
- Dwight Evans
Texas: Henry Cuellar (Cosponsor)
The NIDILRR-funded Collaborative on Health Reform and Independent Living (CHRIL) is looking for adults with disabilities to complete an online survey about getting and using health insurance and health care services. Whether you have private insurance, insurance from an employer, Medicaid, Medicare or no insurance please complete the survey. We want to know how the Affordable Care Act (ACA) may be affecting your life.
Adults ages 18 to 62 with any type of disability are encouraged to participate.
The survey should take about 20 minutes to complete and your responses are anonymous.
To go to the survey click here: National Survey on Health Reform and Disability
(or copy & paste into your browser: https://kusurvey.ca1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_cRVi7OagAy883vn)
Whether or not you complete the survey, you can choose to enter a drawing to win one of five $100 gift cards.