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May 6, 2015 5:32 PM

Landrigan: Public hearing on state budget draws overflow crowd


CONCORD - They came not to praise but to bury the House-passed, $11 billion state budget.

Substance abuse sufferers, alternative energy advocates and seniors all pleaded for more money.

`"Meals on Wheels for instance is not just a meals program. It also provides a check for frail, isolated seniors," said Claira Monier, a board member of the state chapter of American Association of Retired Persons.

But the plight of disabled children and their families dominated the dialogue hoping the Senate would restore $53 million in cuts.

"It helps family members understand what mental illness is all about because they don’t know what it is all about. You know, one in five people know somebody with mental illness," said Charley Perkins of Manchester who has benefited from Granite Pathways, a recovery at work program.

Mary Beth Smaha, a single mom from Nashua sold her home due to hefty out-of-pocket costs caring for Evie who suffers with autism, bipolar and obsessive compulsive disease.

"So if those funds are cut, I don’t know what I will do. I just won’t be able to work because I have to have someone who watches her," she said.

A Salem mom says her disabled daughter, Sarah, taught her about what’s important in life.

"She has taught me to be strong and to advocate for what is most important in our lives," said Kimberly Habib.


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