The base of the Grand Staircase at the State House was filled with nearly 100 families, new and returning legislators, professionals, and self-advocates on Tuesday morning. In attendance were Rep. Denise Garlick, Sen. John Keenan, Rep. Tram Nguyen, Rep. Donald Wong, Rep. Mindy Domb, Rep. Carole Fiola, Sen. Jo Comerford, Rep. Nika Elugardo, Rep. Maria Robinson, Rep. Michelle Ciccolo, Rep. Kathy LaNatra and Rep. Tommy Vitolo.
Representative Denise Garlick welcomed the crowd and set the tone for the families and new legislator, observing that, when it comes to support for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, as well as their care providers, “We’ve come pretty far, but we need to go further. We need more.”
Later, Senator John Keenan remarked, “There’s numbers that we look at and then there’s stories that touch our hearts. And I can tell you that it’s the stories that touch our hearts that have the most impact.” Families are able to share their stories with The Arc of Massachusetts at any time through our Telling Your Story tool.
Leo Sarkissian spoke of the need to address the Workforce Shortage Crisis in order to provide quality care for citizens most in need. Caregiver Lynn Kelly shared her challenging experience in trying to recruit Personal Care Assistants for her adult son with physical and intellectual disabilities. Maura Sullivan spoke about the need to persist in the passing of Nicky’s Law and recognized the efforts of Cheryl Ryan Chan in advocating for the proposed abuse registry.
Family Caregiver needs were also stressed as a priority with a clear message that “Supporting families is a Smart Investment.”