Land of Lincoln, Obama and Clinton

I moved to Illinois – and to my position as National Director of Autism Services for Easter Seals – a year ago. I value my right to vote, so of course I registered immediately.

And now with the presidential election looming in the not-too-distant future, I find myself voting in a state that two major Democratic candidates can call home. Sen. Barack Obama (D.-Ill.) represents the people of Illinois in the Senate, and although Sen. Hillary Clinton (D.-N.Y.) lives in New York now, she grew up in Park Ridge, Illinois.

Both of my “fellow Illinoisans” will be onstage at the Democratic presidential debate today at 2 – 4 p.m. EST. It’s an audio-only debate, sponsored by National Public Radio  and Iowa Public Radio. I never bought a TV after I moved to Chicago, so trust me – I’ll be listening to my radio.

I know a vote should not be based on geography, and even if it was, I’d be conflicted: more than one candidate can lay claim to my home state.

Issues – issues is where votes are decided. My Easter Seals colleague, Katy Beh Neas, blogged last week about how autism is turning out to be an issue in the upcoming presidential campaign.

Messages about the care and treatment of people living with autism can be found side-by-side with messages about foreign policy, our economy and global warming. With the rates of people diagnosed with autism soaring — and the needs of individuals with autism and their families climbing ever higher — attention to autism has been elevated to the status it deserves.


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