Blind Missourians decry cuts

Gretchen Maune graduated from Blue Springs High School about a decade ago and then went to the University of Missouri in Columbia — and now she’s doing graduate work in MU’s Harry S Truman School of Public Affairs.

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“I’d like to be a legislator some day,” she said. “I want to try to make change happen and make things easier for people with disabilities.”

Five years ago, a disease — Leber’s hereditary optic neuropathy — robbed her of her sight.

“It hit when I was just about 24 years old,” Maune told a reporter. “Within a month, I was legally blind — and it kept getting worse after that.”

Today she can see light and dark, and “some big shapes, sometimes,” and she gets around with the help of a guide dog.

“I can tell you that the last thing it was, was easy,” she told reporters Monday morning, gathered on the South Capitol steps with 11 blind Missourians who were explaining — one more time — why legislative proposals to cancel or trim a special health care program are a bad idea.

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