Disabled community upset over Gov. Malloy's holiday message

HARTFORD - (AP) - Gov. Daniel Malloy's (D-Conn.) Thanksgivingmessage to residents of Connecticut on Wednesday was notappreciated by some members of the disabled community who saidthey're offended by the wording, which describes them as"residents afflicted with handicaps" who are "hovering on theedges of our society."Raymond DeBlasio of Norwich, who is blind, said he was stunnedwhen he received a copy of the two-page message from an angryfriend."When I first read it, I thought, 'Is he talking about me? Isthis me? It doesn't sound like me,'" said DeBlasio, who called thewording insulting and said Malloy's message only reinforces thestereotype that "people with handicaps are helpless, writhingbeings that need to be cared for. And that's not true at all."In his Thanksgiving email, the freshman governor reflects on thestate's recent challenges, including the October snowstorm and theremnants of Hurricane Irene, as well as the unemployment rate andhow members of the military from Connecticut are serving overseasduring the holiday season.The particular paragraph that offended DeBlasio and others isnear the bottom, where it states how "it is bad that some of ourfellow residents are afflicted with handicaps that make their livesimmeasurably difficult, and leave them hovering on the edges of oursociety." It goes on to say that "it is good that we have serviceproviders who work tirelessly and selflessly to care for andcomfort them. To bring them hope where maybe they have only felthopelessness."Andrew Doba, Malloy's director of communications, said thegovernor didn't intend for the message to be offensive."As someone who was born with a severe learning disability, thegovernor certainly did not mean to insult anyone," Doba said. "Heis well aware that being disabled does not prevent anyone fromliving a full and meaningful life. The sentiment he expressed isthat we should celebrate both people with disabilities and thosethat assist them."

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