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Keenan-Devlin says disabled issues a priority

Patrick Keenan-Devlin, Democratic candidate for the 18th District House seat in Illinois, was endorsed by parents of children with disabilities in a rally Saturday at Grey Park in Evanston.

 

About 30 people came to the park to support Keenan-Devlin, who is the only candidate with a policy on disability rights in the 18th District race.

 

Patrick Keenan-Devlin, Democratic candidate for the 18th District House seat in Illinois, was endorsed by parents of children with disabilities in a rally Saturday at Grey Park in Evanston.

 

About 30 people came to the park to support Keenan-Devlin, who is the only candidate with a policy on disability rights in the 18th District race.

 

The rally was joined by many staff members and residents from Albany Care, a residential facility for mentally ill adults, which is on the east side of Grey Park.

 

Keenan-Devlin was endorsed by Cari Levin, founder and director of Citizens for Appropriate Special Education, which advocates on behalf of children with mental and physical disabilities in Evanston.

 

“We are here because we care about children and adults who have special needs,” said Levin. “We want them to have more services, more programs, and, in short, more opportunities. I believe Patrick Keenan-Devlin will go to the state legislature and help our sons and daughters, our relatives and our friends who have disabilities. Patrick truly cares.”

 

Keenan-Devlin promised to make programs for the disabled a priority if he is elected to the 18th District seat.

 

“I am embarrassed that we are 48th, 49th, and 50th on so many issues dealing with the mentally and physically disabled,” he said at the rally.

 

Keenan-Devlin said programs should be provided across the spectrum and throughout the lifetime of anyone with a disability. “These programs would benefit all citizens in our state. Some estimates suggest every dollar you invest in providing for the mentally disabled saves $5 in overall costs to the state,” he said.

 

Keenan-Devlin brings personal understanding to the issue of mental health. His brother, Tim, is autistic. Keenan-Devlin talked about growing up with a sibling who has a disability and watching his parents advocate on behalf of his brother. “Fighting for more services for the mentally ill in our state is a real priority for me,” he said.

 

Another speaker at the rally, Evanston attorney Rachael Gross, also endorsed Keenan-Devlin. Gross said Keenan-Devlin “has a genuine understanding of the challenges facing this population. We need a representative in Springfield who will fight for the rights of the disabled in Illinois.”

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