Today, I join you in celebrating the 20th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The ADA was a landmark bill - one of the most important civil rights achievements in U.S. history - because it gave more than 50 million Americans the opportunity to live the American Dream.
One of those Americans is my son, Cole, who happened to be born with Down Syndrome.
When Cole was born 3 years ago, the disability community welcomed me and my family with open arms. With their friendship and support, I've found a new focus and passion for being a Member a Congress:
To make sure that Cole – and all disabled Americans – have the best opportunities for education, employment, and independent living.
Today, I spoke on the House floor to recognize the ADA anniversary (click here to watch it). I also spoke at a press conference with some of the leaders of the original ADA law (including Sen. Tom Harkin, Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, former Majority Whip Tony Coehlo, Rep. James Sensenbrenner, and Anthony Imparato, President and CEO of the American Association of People with Disabilities [AAPD]). At the press conference, we reaffirmed our commitment to fulfilling the promise of the ADA – not just expanding opportunities for people with disabilities, but also empowering them to lead independent, successful lives.
In related news, last week I had the privilege of addressing the National Down Syndrome Congress (NDSC) National Convention. You can see my power point presentation – plus some of the highlights of my speech – at my new webpage, Down Syndrome Legislative Updates. Click here to view the page and let me know what you think.
Also, last Wednesday, I had the privilege of receiving the AAPD's "Justice for All Award." In my acceptance speech, I said that, "We've come a long way in 20 years, but we still have a long way to go. Let's use the ADA anniversary as inspiration for creating a 'more perfect union' for people with disabilities and all Americans."
I look forward to continuing to work with the disability community – a community I'm proud to be a part of - on the issues that are important to us. Thank you for your support, leadership, and friendship.
Cathy McMorris Rodgers
Member of Congress