Stop using people as pawns

February 15, 2014 

Shame on two gubernatorial candidates for turning our family members into political pawns. Recently Brian Brueggemann penned an article for the News-Democrat, "Brady, Dillard vow to fight for Murray Center."

For the life of me, I just don't understand this position. It appears indefensible. I am a parent of a young woman who has a developmental disability, causing her to need assistance in most aspects of her day, which is why the closing of Murray is of interest to me.

It cost taxpayers $39 million to support 270 individuals at Murray Development Center in 2013. It is important to know that 25,000-plus individuals right now are waiting for developmental disability services in Illinois. In the 21st century we know how to provide better services.

For many years I have worked in the field of disability. I have never once met an individual who said he wanted to live in an institution. Most individuals want to live in the town they grew up in and/or close to family and friends. I have met several individuals who at one time lived in large congregate care developmental institutions. All are glad those days are behind them. The days of large state-operated institutions are over.

The issue is much larger than the 225 residents, 530 employees and the Murray Parent Association. The decision to close Murray is a statewide issue and a good decision for the 21st century.

Missy Kichline


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