Helen Nash and Senator Patty Murray standing together and smiling in front of an American flag in a hallway in a Senate office building.
Helen Nash with Senator Patty Murray in Washington D.C. Helen visited the Senator’s office on a trip representing her college.

My name is Helen Nash. I am 23 years old and have a developmental disability: Down syndrome. I have a passion for inclusion for all – that includes all people with disabilities. I have had experience with advocacy and am familiar with the systems that all people with disabilities are going through: the K-12 school systems, Vocal Rehabilitation, Developmental Disabilities Administrations, and more.

My experience voting has been voting for legislators that support and have experience in the issues of inclusion for all groups, and the environment, so in the same fields as my own passions. I support and vote for legislators based on the issues surrounding people who have a disability, immigrants, and the LGBTQ community. Legislators who vote to give them an inclusive environment that will benefit all groups: in the school systems, in the outside community, in employment, and higher education to name a few.

I also vote on the bigger picture of what all the disability issues look like from my place on the outside of all the decision-making that happens within the government. I bring the voices of other people who I know to their attention, and tell them my own story of what it is like for me and other friends of mine to go through the Developmental Disabilities Administration and Department of Vocational Rehabilitation services, and of working and having a job coach to support you. For me, I vote for legislators and support candidates that will push for the same passions that I also have.

So, I strongly encourage for all of you to read through all the statements of the candidates that you may support or that have been supported by other organizations that align with and speak to you the most, before you vote for them. I do this every time I vote. I search to find the most touching stories within the statements and make sure that they align with what I am passionate about, and I encourage you all to do the same. This is especially important for this Presidential election.