MWCIL held the first in-person Legislative Forum with Easter Seals, Massachusetts, in 3 years. We were happy to see people we knew, as well as welcome some new legislators.
Legislators attending this event included: Senate President Karen E. Spilka; Senator Jamie Eldridge; State Senator Becca Rausch, Rep. David P. Linsky; Rep. Jack Patrick Lewis, State Rep Jeff Roy, Reps. Carmine Gentile, Kate Donaghue (new), Priscila Sousa (new), and a staffer from Rep. Kate Hogan’s office.
Rose Quinn, our Acting Director, welcomed everyone.
Paul Madeiros, President and CEO of Easter Seals, Massachusetts outlined the great work they have accomplished. He and Alexandra Ullrich (Easterseals Massachusetts College Navigator Program Manager) described the Easterseals College Navigator program provides individualized services to college students with disabilities based on their goals, strengths, and needs. The Navigators assist students in identifying barriers, advocating for the student’s needs, and accessing college services and resources to successfully reach graduation. Services are delivered in person, virtually, or together to meet the student’s needs! They are hoping to get $400,000 for this important program in order to hire 4 more College Navigators so that they can provide services to 120 more college students with disabilities in the state.
Karen Langley asked for permanent funding for REQuipment, which has supplied used, free Durable Medical Equipment to so many consumers.
David Correia, MWCIL, asked for a $2 million increase in IL funding, and spoke about the Architectural Access Bill.
The MetroWest legislators have consistently been strong supporters of Independent Living with our service and funding needs, as well as assistive technology. As they listed support for so many of our issues and priorities (College Navigator, isolation especially after COVID, homecare and PCA Services, DDS and Real Lives, Aging out of youth services, wheelchair access, affordable housing voucher program, guardianship, mental health services, and more), we felt confident that they will continue to have our backs.
Our latest technology, the Owl, allowed us to hold a hybrid meeting with people both in-person and remote.
We all felt Paul’s presence, cheering us on, at what was one of his favorite events of the year. And he would have loved the Owl.