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Leaders in the Arizona disability community optimistic about support from Hobbs administration

Published: Friday, January 6, 2023 - 9:59am

Supporting people living with an intellectual or developmental disability is a work in progress from a policy standpoint. Now that Arizona has a new, Democratic governor at the helm, who also happens to have a background in social work, the question is: Will Katie Hobbs focus on the needs of this population?

Jon Meyers is the executive director of the Arizona Developmental Disabilities Planning Council, which advocates for people with disabilities.

"We are optimistic that this will be an administration we can work very closely with, we can have very candid conversations with," he said.

And that includes conversations about wages and staffing.

"That is really the key," he said. "We have to put into place, whatever policies, whatever funding is necessary to ensure that not only providers are able to hire and retain high quality staff, but that the Division of Developmental Disabilities and AHCCCS are able to hire and retain high quality staff."

During her inaugural address, Hobbs outlined an agenda focused on good paying jobs, affordable housing, education and water. Still, while Meyers feels optimistic about working with the Hobbs administration, he is cautiously so when it comes to the Arizona Legislature, which will be back in session on Monday. Meyers says it means educating lawmakers about the hurdles facing those living with IDD.

"Our legislators are people with hearts, they are people who represent individuals with disabilities in their districts, and we hope that we can impress upon them the urgency of these disability issues as we move forward."