Insider’s View: Representative Denise C. Garlick

garlickI have the privilege of representing the 40,000 people- children, adults, families, seniors and veterans of Needham, Dover and precincts 1 and 2 in Medfield. As a mother, wife, nurse, community volunteer, local elected leader and concerned citizen on a wide variety of community initiatives, I share the concerns and issues of the people of my district and our Commonwealth.

Like everyone these days, I wear many hats. I presently serve as the Chair of the Joint Committee on Elder Affairs and I have served on the Legislature’s major health committees including: Public Health, Mental Health and Substance Abuse and Healthcare Financing. I also had the opportunity to serve as the Vice Chair of the Joint Committee on Education. I share the concerns of the people of my District about a myriad of issues including, education, economic development, healthcare, transportation, energy and social justice.

I strive to choose and engage in work with my head, heart and hands. The best example I can offer of this method is my commitment to individuals with developmental disabilities, their families and communities, and the many people who comprise the workforce engaged with these individuals in a variety of settings. With her Dad, three siblings and me, my daughter has traveled the path of diagnosis, early intervention, school, day programs, including camp and work (some paid, some volunteer). For several of her childhood years, I was also the Health Supervisor at one of the local Chapters of The Arc for adult participants in the Day Habilitation Program.

I know and try to share with fellow legislators and other policy makers, the love, fear, joy, disappointments, triumphs, hope, anxieties and exhaustion that are part of the lives of people with developmental disabilities and their families and caregivers. Sometimes, all those emotions in one day!  I strive to be part of policies that are realistic and respectful. I join with colleagues to advocate and track resources so that they will appropriately allocated and make the most positive impact in the lives of individuals with developmental disabilities. I am demanding of myself and others because individuals with developmental disabilities do not just want cheerleaders but need teammates.

I am heartened by the genuine concern and dedication of the Speaker of the House, Robert DeLeo and the commitment of the Chairman of House Ways and Means, Brian Dempsey to all the individuals, families and the workforce of the developmental disability community.

I am concerned that there is such a great deal of work to do to preserve the gains of this vulnerable community and promote ways in which realistic initiatives can be supported. Individuals with developmental disabilities deserve policies and allocated resources so that they may have safe, meaningful lives with dignity.

This work is the highest calling of public service and I am honored to call myself a public servant.

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