Hundreds Attend Big Tent Rally

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Advocates at the rally say everyone deserves the right to the services they need to maintain a positive quality of life.

"People with disabilities, seniors, Kansans across the state living in poverty, don't often have a voice in the political process," says Big Tent spokesperson Shannon Jones, "we're just trying to make their voice heard."

Jones says she appreciates lawmakers' efforts to increase funding to important programs.

"We've eliminated the waiting list for frail elderly services, people with head injuries no longer have to wait, we've greatly reduced the waiting list for people with disabilities," Jones says.

But she says there's a lot of work still to be done.

"We've got to hold onto what we have, our job is not done," says Jones, "there are many critical needs out there ands we just want to express that to the legislature."

Organizers says they shouldn't have to fight over funding from the Statehouse.

"Social service programs should not, under any circumstances, be pitted against education, roads and highways," Jones says ," the state has an obligation to provide essential services in many arenas.

JoAnne Fluke was a featured speaker at the rally.

She says she has a message for lawmakers.

"Number one, everyone has a disability," she says, "and that they are our voice, they can help us make a difference in the world."

Fluke told 13 News that she's thankful for the opportunity to bring supporters together.

"I think it's amazing that there are so many organizations that are coming together and encouraging the disability community," says Fluke.

Governor Sebelius also spoke at Wednesday's rally and she says funding for programs that provide medical services to the disabled, is secure, for now.