ARC hosts candidates forum

AUGUSTA COUNTY, Va. (WHSV) — The ARC of Augusta and the ARC of Harrisonburg and Rockingham hosted a General Assembly candidate forum Monday night to focus on the candidates' stances on developmental disabilities.

Some of the candidates at the ARC forum on Oct. 14, 2019

"The reason we do events like this is so we can invite people from the public to ask questions of candidates running for state offices," said Warren McKeen, executive director for Arc of Augusta. "In case this case, we have four House races and two Senate races here to get their views on the individuals we're supporting."

Monday night's forum was attended by Republican John Avoli and Democrat Jennifer Lewis, House of Delegates 20th District; Republican Ronnie Campbell and Democrat Christian Worth, House of Delegates 24th District; Republican Chris Runion and Democrat Jennifer Kitchen, House of Delegates 25th District; Del. Tony Wilt, R-Broadway, and Democrat Brent Finnegan, House of Delegates 26th District; Sen. Emmett Hanger, R-Mount Solon, and Democrat Annette Hyde, 24th Senate District and Democrat April Moore, 26th Senate District.

Each candidate focused on Arc's three key initiatives: to fully fund the DD waiver waiting list, to increase waiver reimbursement rates, and to fully invest in the DD system without disrupting the services of those already being served.

According to Arc, there are more than 30,000 people on the DD medicaid waiver list, and right now, Virginia ranks 39th in providing services to those with DD. Organizers said they hope Monday night's forum ignites the process to ending these issues.

"I hope they get a better understanding of what the individuals and families we support go through," McKeen said. "These families go through these things without the supports that many of us take for granted."

“These are not new ideas or needs, to those who have been listening,” states Kim Goodloe, President of Arc. “Rather, they represent the fundamental foundation of our advocacy and lobbying efforts over the past many years. With all 140 seats up for election in November, there are fresh opportunities for us to educate candidates for office on how they can better create a Virginia that is inclusive and truly works for everyone.”