Andrew Straw

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Andrew Straw
Andrew Straw.jpg
General electionNovember 4, 2014
Founder
National Chair
PartyDisability Party
USA Chair, Disability Party
2013, 2014
International Chair, Disability Party
2013, 2014
Green Party of the United States National Committee Member (Indiana Delegate)
2012, 2013
Presidential Elector Candidate, Jill Stein
2012
Prior offices
Precinct Chair
1998
Education
High schoolNorthridge High School (1987)
Bachelor'sIndiana University (1992)
Master'sIndiana University (1995)
J.D.Indiana University Maurer School of Law (1997)
Personal
BirthdayMarch 19, 1969
Place of birthCamp LeJeune Naval Hospital, North Carolina
ProfessionAttorney, Disability Civil Rights, Immigration & Human Rights
Websites
Personal website
Andrew Straw is the founder of the Disability Party, which formed for the first time in the United States on February 5, 2013, in Indiana.

Straw was the Disability Party's candidate for Indiana Secretary of State, and the 2012 Green Party nominee for U.S. House of Representatives representing Indiana's 2nd Congressional District, but he was ultimately denied ballot access by the Indiana Secretary of State on July 27, 2012.[1]

Biography

Straw was born on March 19, 1969, at Marine Corps Base Camp LeJeune located in Jacksonville, North Carolina.[2]

Straw's mother was a Daughter of the American Revolution as a direct descendant of Dr. Thomas Young, an American Revolutionary War figure. Dr. Young is credited with the idea to dump British tea into Boston Harbor, and he was punished for it by British officers after the "Tea Party." Dr. Young was a Son of Liberty. Young named the State of Vermont, and was a drafter of the first Pennsylvania constitution in 1776, shortly after the Declaration of Independence in Philadelphia. Young was an officer in the Continental Army and chief surgeon of an Army veterans hospital during the war, and died there of an infection from his duties.[3]

Straw's mother was also a direct descendant of Clement Lanier, a famous Italian/French/British musician who served as Gentleman of the King's Chamber to King James I and King Charles I in the 1600s. Gentleman of the King's Chamber was a high rank at court because this person protected the personal quarters of the British monarch and provided the monarch companionship in private.[4]

Education:

  • Northridge High School, Middlebury, Indiana - National Merit Scholar, National Honor Society, National Science Olympiad Gold Medalist. Sports: track & field (varsity letter), wrestling
  • Indiana University, Bachelor's in English & Philosophy (Political Science minor) (1992)
  • Indiana University, Master's degree in Language Education (1995)
  • Indiana University Maurer School of Law, J.D. (1997) - Parker-Powell fellow for being among the most active student leaders on the Bloomington campus his first year of law school. Chosen by IU Student Association, where Straw represented the Law School in student government.
  • University of Otago (Dunedin, NZ), Graduate Studies in Bioethics & Health Law (2004)[5]

Career

Andrew U. D. Straw is a disability rights attorney. He currently is working on a number of cases in this area, including:

1. Straw v. Kloecker, et. al., 14-1714 (7th Cir.)

2. Straw v. American Bar Association, et. al., 1:14-cv-05194 (ND Il.)

3. Straw v. Sconiers, et. al., 3:14-cv-1772 (ND Ind.)

4. Straw v. Indiana Democratic Party, 93A02-1406-EX-00399 (Ind.)

5. Straw v. Streamwood Chamber of Commerce, et. al., 2013L063066 (Cook Cty. Cir. Ct.)

6. Petition for Redress of Grievances, Indiana Supreme Court & Indiana Board of Law Examiners

7. Matter of Andrew U. D. Straw (U.S. Navy FTCA claim, Camp LeJeune contamination), File 140367

8. Straw v. Grooming Unleashed, Illinois Human Rights Commission complaint, 2014.

Straw's professional background includes being the founder and president of the Indiana Center for Excellence in Government, which has conducted studies on lithium concentrations in drinking water in Indiana's 2nd Congressional District, as well as a survey of local government communications and whether they are accessible. In particular, whether local government agencies provide email and fax contact information on the Internet.[6]

Straw is a member of the bar in Indiana. He is admitted to practice law in the U.S. District Courts for the Northern and Southern Districts of Indiana, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, and the Fourth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. He has worked as a statistical analyst for the Indiana Supreme Court, collecting and analyzing data for over 400 Indiana trial courts and focusing on disabilities in the judicial system. Straw previously co-chaired the committee on Education of Bench & Bar for the Virginia State Bar Task Force on Technology. Click here to view Straw's CV online.

Straw was in-house corporate counsel for Alan M. Voorhees, who allegedly designed the Interstate Highway System and the Metro in Washington, D.C. Voorhees owned Autometric, the satellite intelligence company that keeps all American military and air traffic safe. He also own the company that invented the Bar Code used in retail, the company that invented the compression software for the FBI fingerprint database, and the company that invented Google Earth. Voorhees was a frogman in WWII, mapping islands and blowing up obstacles for island invasions in the Pacific. He and another frogman swam up Nagasaki Harbor immediately after the bomb was dropped and mapped the port and surveyed the damage. Straw represented Voorhees in corporate matters, education donations, government negotiations, and nonprofit work. He trained at the Council for Excellence in Government in 2000 with top-level civil servants from Health & Human Services. Voorhees founded the Council in the 1980s, and it had all living ex-U.S. presidents on its board of directors.

Issues

Campaign themes

2014

Major campaign themes Straw believes in and would be in his platform for a future office include:[7]

  • U.S. House Disabilities Caucus - Straw strongly supports this.
  • Medicare for all - expand the existing national health system to cover everyone. Removes insurance premium burden on businesses and provides portability. Will cover people working as independent contractors.
  • National Accident Insurance - to cover all accidents without having to go to court. Removes most tort lawsuits and replaces it with a predictable benefit schedule. Very popular in the first country to have it: New Zealand. | ACC
  • Secretary of Disability Affairs - a cabinet-level position to advise the President.
  • Disability Rights: He was the first congressional candidate in U.S. history to run against his own party's district chair in the May 2011 U.S. Census-motivated election. The party's lack of disabled access at the South Bend HQ for 17 years was the stated reason.[8] Butch Morgan, the county chair, district chair, and state committee member Straw ran against, is now convicted of forgery conspiracy in collecting signatures for Obama's ballot access in 2008. Morgan was sentenced in South Bend.[9]
  • Disability Auditors - federal auditors should analyze all communities in the USA for compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act and other laws protecting the disabled.
  • Public education, paid for students, from preschool to Ph.D. Would introduce a bill to freeze student loan payments and set the interest rate at 0%.
  • 20 hours free preschool - must be a certified facility with trained teachers in Early Childhood Education
  • Job creation (25 million jobs from disability accommodation construction) - stronger EEOC for worker rights
  • Emergency Climate Change Program - heavy Defense Department spending to combat climate change.
  • Environmental protection - air, water, land
  • Death Penalty - researched Indiana Constitution, Virginia law on the death penalty. Protested death penalty at governor's mansion in Indianapolis with president of Amnesty International. Clerked on a triple murder/arson case and researched the death penalty for the judge. Pro-life on the death penalty, in favor of Life Without Parole.
  • Against Abortion - the Disability Party is against sterilization of disabled people and against aborting disabled people. The Disability Party seeks passage of a constitutional amendment to remove abortion as a constitutional right.
  • Gay marriage - should be guaranteed by U.S. constitution
  • American Voting Tax Credit - $50 every time a person votes in a general election
  • IRS Internet Reform - IRS should provide online accounts for all taxpayers and streamline its services so a person or organization can pay its taxes online and keep track of all information in one place. Social Security has online accounts and access to data. IRS can do this.
  • Non-profit & church free speech - churches and non-profits should not lose their free speech rights just to get tax benefits.
  • Marijuana - legalize it, with hemp and medical marijuana as the priorities.
  • Give Workers a Break - mandatory minimum paid meal and rest breaks for all workers, including independent contractors.
  • Right to Work - repeal the anti-worker, anti-union legislation, nationwide
  • Domestic Violence - fund a nationwide database of court orders to protect women, children, and the disabled
  • MMP Electoral System - change the Constitution to allow for national U.S. House selection by party and district voting
  • Term Limits - committed to amending the Constitution so House members may serve a maximum of 6 years, and Senate members 12 years. 18 years as a federal official is more than enough for anyone.
  • Camp LeJeune, North Carolina Water Contamination - full medical coverage under VA for anyone stationed there (including spouses and children) and anyone born there--no questions asked. Compensation must be paid also for the injuries.
  • Cyberbullying - would introduce a bill to help people remove defamation against them on the Internet, including search engines.
  • Democratic Ballot Access Reform - Congress should abolish the listing of party on congressional general election ballots. Congress shall mandate that any party is eligible to have ballot access in a primary for federal office because a primary is free advertising and provides intelligence about voters; any party should be eligible for that.

Secretary of State

Major campaign themes for Straw's Secretary of State run included:[10]

  • Make entire office compliant with our federal and state constitutions, including the federal and state bills of rights. Every function and component of the Secretary of State's office will be subject to a full review for compliance with both constitutions, since there appear to be many violations at the present time. State laws will not be enforced if they conflict with constitutional law as interpreted by Secretary of State Straw, when elected.
  • Make every function of the office not only compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act, but actively seek ways to exceed the standards set out by Congress.
  • Will make functions of the office environmentally-friendly, including making use of paper for official purposes rare. All official documents will be available in an official database and available online. The Secretary of State will opt in to accepting e-signatures and will strive to make all forms fillable online and able to be submitted online.
  • Reduce every fee and tax possible to zero or as close to zero as allowed by law to encourage company formation and business growth.
  • Offer value-added business and other services not offered in other states. Constantly seek ways to make Indiana a more democratic and attractive place to live and do business.
  • Coordinate with other state officials so that Secretary of State services reduce crime and serve the public in every way.
  • Improve voter registration and use all discretion to make voting accurate, fraud-free and nonpartisan as part of the constitutional review. Currently when voting for candidates, our constitutions require voting for only a candidate rather than a party. With the voter registration improvement, no "straight ticket" voting will be recognized and this option will be stripped from ballots.
  • Voting will be made as easy as possible under the confines of state law and constitutional law while maintaining reasonable mechanisms to eliminate fraud. The Secretary of State has great power over how Indiana democracy functions, and Straw intends to use that power to improve voting and all electoral duties of the office.[11]

2012

Major campaign themes for Straw's congressional run included:[12]

Elections

2014

See also: Illinois' 8th Congressional District elections, 2014

Straw is considering running as a Disability Party candidate for Illinois' 8th Congressional District election to be held November 2014. Straw moved to Illinois in 2013 and is registered to vote in Cook County. U.S. Representative Tammy Duckworth is the U.S. representative in this district.

As the Indiana state Chair for the Disability Party, which formed for the first time in the United States on February 5, 2013, Straw has advocated for disability rights in voting and judicial system rights. Straw is interested in running for Congress in order to advance disability rights. The Facebook page of the Disability Party went from 0 to 527 fans in its first 32 days.[13]

Straw filed a complaint with the Disability Rights Section of the U.S. Department of Justice after collecting correspondence with the Indiana Secretary of State's office. Straw's complaint was that Indiana's voter registration, ballot access petitioning process and absentee ballot rules all violate the Americans with Disabilities Act. The Disability Rights Section opened a full investigation of Indiana's practices.

Straw is conducting other studies of how the judicial system discriminates against those who are disabled.

2013

Straw's candidacy for appointment as superior court judge was supported by his work on trial judge analysis and court technology at the Indiana Supreme Court. Straw was law clerk for the Hon. Joseph E. Spruill, Jr. in Virginia's 15th judicial district in 2000, and provided research for the judge on Virginia's death penalty for a triple murder arson trial. He also worked on trial court technology at the Virginia State Bar Task Force on Technology, and on a court automation project promoted by transportation legend Alan Voorhees.[14]

2012

See also: Indiana's 2nd Congressional District elections, 2012

Straw initially declared his intent to run in the 2012 election for the U.S. House, representing Indiana's 2nd District. The Secretary of State, Connie Lawson (R), denied his petition on July 27, 2012 on grounds that Straw had submitted one signature on his petition. According to Straw, there was no mention of his statutory or constitutional objections. Namely, since Lawson was appointed and the number of signatures needed depended on the number of votes she received, only one was required.[1][15]

According to Straw, he left the Democratic Party after the mayor-elect of South Bend, Pete Buttigieg, his Democratic opponent, Brendan Mullen and the new district chair, Mike Schmuhl, announced their solution to the inaccessibility at headquarters. Straw claims the ramp is several feet too short (making the slope dangerously high), and contains no railings. In addition, the ramp twists because the sidewalk outside is at an incline from right to left.[16]

Straw's Indiana Civil Rights Commission disability access complaint against the Indiana Democratic Party of September 2012 is ongoing, and was unsuccessful in mediation.

On January 3, 2012, Straw announced his switch to the Green Party. Straw had previously been a regional male co-leader of the Green Party of Aotearoa, New Zealand. Straw was the 2012 Indiana delegate to the Green Party National Convention, and as such is a member of the Green National Committee through 2016.

On March 4, 2012, Green Party presidential candidate Dr. Jill Stein stumped for Straw in South Bend and in his home town of Goshen.[17]

After hearing he had been disqualified from the ballot, Straw addressed a letter to the Secretary of State, in which he wrote: "I am stunned at the way you so cavalierly disregarded our constitution’s guarantees of equality and prohibition on privileging certain groups like your Republican and Democratic parties."[1]

Straw was a presidential elector for Stein, and received 625 write-in votes on her behalf in 2012.

Endorsements

  • Straw was endorsed by the Indiana Green Party on January 3, 2012.[18] The Lavender Greens, the LGBT caucus of the Green Party of the United States, endorsed him also.
  • Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein campaigned for Straw in South Bend and his home, Goshen on March 4-5, 2012.
  • 11-year dean of the IU-Maurer School of Law, Prof. Fred Aman. June 27, 2011.
  • Professor Jiefen Li, a Chinese law professor and expert on human rights, administrative law, and labor rights in China.
  • Mr. Marc Dubin, former senior trial attorney at the U.S. Department of Justice, in charge of all Americans with Disabilities Act enforcement in the United States, 1993-2005.
  • Mr. Skip Potter, computer architect for Alan M. Voorhees, Autometric, and Boeing.

Personal

Straw lives in Streamwood, Illinois, and has 2 children, Ava and Manu. Straw is fluent in English and Italian, as are his children. He also speaks some German and some French.[19]

Captain Jason Lee Straw

Straw's brother, Capt. Jason Lee Straw (ret.), served as a critical care trauma nurse in the U.S. Air Force. He has served two tours in Afghanistan. During his second tour, Capt. Straw served as a CCAT nurse. His responsibilities included flying as part of 3-person team from Afghanistan to Germany, while helping keep severely injured amputees alive.

See also

External links

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References