On Wednesday, March 9th, 2016, The Arc of Massachusetts and the Massachusetts Developmental Disabilities Council (MDDC) hosted the 38th Annual Legislative Reception at the State House. Over 300 people attended the event honoring Representative Ronald Mariano and Senator Joan Lovely; as well as the work that has been done for individuals with disabilities.
Senate President Stan Rosenberg and Speaker Bob DeLeo led the presentations to the honorees.
During her time in the Senate, Senator Lovely has been a strong supporter of the Turning 22 program, family respite services, the early intervention program, and additional resources for individuals with autism. “Joan Lovely has been there from the start for us as a leader on disability issues,” stated Dan Shannon, executive director of the MDDC.
Majority Leader Mariano led House negotiations for health care cost reform which included key elements for individuals with disabilities. He also supported the passage of ARICA (private insurance for autism services) and has always been accessible to disability advocates. Leo Sarkissian, executive director of The Arc noted, “Representative Mariano has supported progressive policies for individuals with disabilities and their families. We appreciate his leadership.”
Speaking on the theme of “Celebrating Individuals and Families”, Isaiah Lombardo and his mother, Angela Lombardo shared their story as a youth and parent who worked together to help overcome barriers in school and community. Isaiah now works in Culinary three days a week and continues as a post-graduate in Somerville High. He managed the football team and won the Greater Boston League’s Manager of the Year Award for football. Angela Lombardo serves as Program Coordinator for the Down Syndrome Program at Boston Children’s Hospital and as Family Faculty for the Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities Program.
Elin Howe, Commissioner of DDS read the Governor’s Proclamation. Others from the administration included Commissioner Nicky Osborne of MRC, Rebecca Brink, Dir. of Legislative Affairs at EOHHS and MassHealth Medical Director, Carolyn Langer. Many representatives and senators attended the event. Rep. Tom Sannicandro was emcee. Attendees recognized him for his efforts as he is leaving the House at the end of this session.
The Massachusetts Developmental Disabilities Council (MDDC) and The Arc of Massachusetts not only celebrated “Individuals and Families” at the reception but 38 years of partnership together and with other organizations to further empower people with disabilities in their communities and advance access to needed supports and services. www.thearcofmass.org www.mass.gov/mddc