I applaud Senator Thomas M. "Mac" Middleton's opinion piece ("Maryland must support community care for the disabled," April 1) and for his tireless work on behalf of Marylanders with developmental disabilities, mental illnesses and those working men and women that dedicate their lives to caring for them. We urge his colleagues to support Senate Bill 633 and House Bill 1034, which the senator correctly describes as an opportunity to "address the chronic under-funding of services for more than 120,000 adults and children in Maryland." We need to do more to ensure that the neediest of our neighbors have access to the best treatment and the heroes that care for them every day are supported with all the resources they need, not only to care for the sick, but also to provide for their own families.
Service Employees International Union (SEIU) is the largest union of providers working for community based programs in the United States. We are proud to stand with Senator Middleton on this important issue. It is our hope that passage of this important legislation is seen as the foundation and the beginning for bringing about a fundamental strengthening of the state's commitment to those with developmental disabilities and to those who provide service and support to them each and every day.
The writer is executive director of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 500.