How to Make a Difference by Running for Elected Office

How to Make a Difference by Running for Elected Office

How are you making a difference for people with disabilities? Maybe you speak up for employing people with disabilities in your own life or lobby lawmakers to make communities more accommodating. But if you’re looking for a way to make a big impact, why not try a run for public office? Running for office is no easy undertaking, especially for people with disabilities. However, with so many people with disabilities underrepresented in government and underserved in our communities, it’s also a powerful — and necessary — step to take.

Are you ready to take the leap and get on the campaign trail? Here’s where to start.

Decide Where to Run

The mayor’s office isn’t the only office to aim for. In addition to mayor, consider submitting your candidacy to become a city council person, school board president or another local government official. Local positions like these are a great place for people new to politics to get their feet wet. You’ll also need to decide on which party you want to represent.

Build a Fundraising Strategy

Raising funds for a political campaign isn’t easy, especially if you’re like many people with disabilities who earn less than their non-disabled peers.

It’s not easy covering reasonable needs like a personal assistant or the cost of running for election. If you intend to run for office, you’ll need to start fundraising early to pay for it. Read up on campaign finance law, reach out to organizations aligned with your cause to find support, and give crowdfunding a try. While online crowdfunding for political campaigns is a relatively new idea, it’s gained a lot of traction in recent elections.

Arm Yourself with the Right Campaign Team

Of course, you’ll need a top-notch team to help get the word and help you raise the money you need for a campaign. But what if you can’t afford a huge team consultant? You can still craft a strong message even with a small budget by relying on freelancers.

Whether you need a graphic designer to create a snappy campaign logo or a content writer to type up a compelling message for your crowdfunding campaign, you can find the help you need by hiring freelancers. If you can’t find the right freelancers in your local network, turn to online job boards that can connect you with independent workers in a wide range of industries.

Assembling a top-notch team and running a campaign also involves making sure everyone is working with capable equipment, so make sure your staff all have updated smartphones and tablets so they can complete tasks efficiently and effectively. On top of that, your campaign will need access to fast and reliable internet with powerful bandwidth.

Proactively Address Accessibility

If you’re running for elected office and you have a disability, you may also want to hire a personal assistant for your campaign. The campaign trail is full of challenges with election events, and it will be crucial to have someone help you proactively navigate these challenges to avoid finding yourself shut out of the conversation.

Keep in mind that hiring a personal assistant makes you an employer. As an employer, you have certain responsibilities, such as not discriminating in the hiring process and having a written contract for your PA.

People with disabilities face numerous hurdles other candidates don’t when it comes to running for office. However, while overcoming these challenges may make your candidacy harder, you shouldn’t let it stop you. Only by increasing representation of people with disabilities in government can we create a government that truly reflects the populace it serves.

Article written by Ed Carter

Posted in All
A-Team logo

Attention A-Team

Good morning A-Team Grassroots –

Friday June 21. We are into our final 3 days for the 14 C Dialogue – let’s make it count! It is hoped we have thousands of comments by our national call this Friday and much to celebrate!

Since sending all of you the updated options for sharing testimony. i.e. direct phone number and email, I have heard from some states that the phone line is not the most conducive for taking testimonies. It is my hunch that the phone line is not prepared for this type of process and should be used as a last resort option.

Our team at Opportunities, Inc. has developed a simple tool for capturing self-advocate and family advocate comments (attached). We will be completing these with our participants and loved ones who haven’t commented yet (via traditional means) and then scan and email them to

If your team has put together a tool/system – please share and I will send on to everyone, as well.

This is our opportunity to advance the A-Team national message!

GO Grassroots GO!

A-Team logo

Attention A-Team Advocates!

ATTENTION A-Team advocates : In January, the United States House and Senate introduced companion bills to raise the minimum wage over time. The bills, H.R. 582 and S. 150, the Raise the Wage Act, include language that would eliminate Section 14(c) of the Fair Labor Standards Act, which would eviscerate opportunities for people with significant disabilities who enjoy and want to keep their jobs. Please watch this important message from A-Team members Andy Coughlin and Kris Hale.


We need your help!

If you have gotten a chance to make a comment on this, thank you.  If you haven’t yet we did some clarification on an effective response from the A-team facilitators.

The recommendation was to keep it simple, positive and personal.  With forums like this, the number of responses is more impactful than the length. 

A-Team – 3 times

1. Subject Line (something to identify our group but not all the same-“A-team/Big Lake” would be good for our group)

2. First sentence of comment (example: My name is ________ and I am member of the A-Team. Our mission is to ensure people with disabilities have a full array of choices for work, home and life.)

 3. Closing of comment: Thank you, (name ____________

Body of Comment:

  • Keep it to one or two sentences.
  • “Thank you” for inviting public comment on this important topic of employment choice. My (family member) or I am very proud of my work at my CRP and want to be sure this continues. I do believe in the choice of CIE too and its value within Wisconsin’s full array of services.
  • *** Remember to keep your comment about the importance of a full array and the dignity of employment. Confirm the importance of Community Integrated Employment too.
  • Be gracious and positive.

Our goal is to get 20 replies from A-team Big Lake.  Thanks for taking the time to do this.

A-Team logo

We need your help with the Home and Community-Based Settings Rule


CMS requires all states that operate home and community-based services waivers to comply with a federal settings rule. The purpose of the settings rule is to ensure that people receiving services through home and community-based waiver programs have access to the benefits of community living and are able to receive services in the most integrated settings.


For more information about the federal rule and settings requirements can be found on CMS’ website at


Share Your Story

Tell Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to support a full array of services, including prevocational services. Share your story on choice and the importance of preserving your choice on where to live and work.


How to Take Action- Write a letter to Seema Verma, CMS Administrator. Share…

  1. Your story- where you work, things you like about work, etc.
  2. Tell her to eliminate the presumption that settings specifically designed to serve individuals with developmental disabilities are “isolating”.
  3. It’s your right to choose where to receive services.



Seema Verma,Administrator

Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services

Hubert H. Humphrey Building

200 Independence Ave, SW Washington D.C. 20201



This information is being shared across 15 states, which will provide the background of the Home and Community-Based Settings Rule and how to take action.  The attachment is an example written by Rick Wilson to Seema Verna on this issue. It is important that Seema Verna, CMS Administrator eliminates the presumption that settings specifically designed to serve individuals with developmental disabilities are “isolating.”  The Home and Community-Based Settings Rule includes prevocational services,  day services, and residential services.  Please take a few minutes to contact Seema Verna and help preserve a full array of choice to people with disabilities.

Let me know if you need any assistance.



10-30-18 example of email message

Senator Grothman and Johnny Collett visit Lakeside Packaging Plus-9

Congressman Grothman brings Johnny Collett to Lakeside Packaging Plus

On Wednesday October 10, Congressman Grothman brought Johnny Collett, Assistant Secretary in the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services from the United States Department of Education to LPP-Oshkosh for a tour.  Congressman Grothman wanted Collett to see for himself that CRPs are valuable community resources and positive places to work.  Thank you Congress Grothman for joining us and bringing Johnny Collett with you.


America's Workforse Empowering All


Lakeside Packaging Plus, Inc. announced its participation in National Disability Employment Awareness Month, an annual awareness campaign that takes place each October. The purpose of National Disability Employment Awareness Month is to educate about disability employment issues and celebrate the many and varied contributions of America’s workers with disabilities. This year’s theme is “America’s Workforce: Empowering All”


“Americans of all abilities must have access to good, safe jobs,” said U.S. Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta. “Smart employers know that including different perspectives in problem-solving situations leads to better solutions. Hiring employees with diverse abilities strengthens their business, increases competition and drives innovation.”


Reflecting this year’s theme, throughout the month, Lakeside Packaging Plus will be engaging in a variety of activities to educate its associates and families on disability employment issues and its commitment to an inclusive work culture. On October 23, a representative from A-TEAM WI will be on-site to share the successful grassroots efforts that have been going on around the state and nation. The Wisconsin A-TEAM started in 2011 and has grown to 15 states throughout the United States, including 12 chapters in Wisconsin!


Lakeside Packaging Plus is proud to sponsor the A-Team Wisconsin Big Lake Chapter. Big Lake Chapter brings individuals with disabilities and their family members together to advocate in a grassroots effort, create awareness in the community and advise others to ensure a full array of vocational service choices are protected and sustained.

Voice Your Choice logo

We need your help – Voice Your Choice!

It is an exciting time to be involved in grassroots efforts to support expanding CHOICE for people with disabilities! After several years of frustrating policies, we have seen the momentum shift. In fact, right now, there is legislation in Congress that would expand employment options for people with disabilities. The bill, H.R. 5658 or the Workplace Choice and Flexibility for Individuals with Disabilities Act, would amend the definition of Competitive Integrated Employment.  As you know, Competitive Integrated Employment is so narrowly defined by the government that it is causing people with disabilities to lose out on work opportunities. This bill will go a long way toward fixing the problem. Yet, that is not all H.R. 5658 does. It also represents a giant step forward in keeping the momentum going. 

We need your help! We cannot do this without all of you. With your help we can improve the lives of people with disabilities all over the country and ensure that every person has the right to pursue the work and residential choice that best aligns with their goals and abilities. 

What can I do?

Tell your representative to co-sponsor H.R. 5658.

  1. CLICK HERE to go to the ACCSES Action Center – “Support and Cosponsor H.R. 5658”
  2. Tell your Members of Congress to cosponsor and pass this important bill to increase employment opportunities for people with disabilities. The subject and message o
  3. f the body is already filled in. However, feel free to add your own personal comment.
  4. Based on the address you enter, your message will immediately be sent to the appropriate representative.
  5. Tell your family and friends to do the same!

Show Congress that CHOICE matters.

Be part of the force for change.

View our video at here