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Trump’s Choice for Secretary of the Interior Has History of Disability Activism

RespectAbility's Philip Pauli, Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers and RespectAbility's Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi standing and posing for photo while smiling, wearing black, orange and red suits respectively
RespectAbility’s Philip Pauli, Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers and RespectAbility’s Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi

Washington, Dec. 9 – According to multiple news reports, President-elect Donald Trump has announced his choice for Secretary of the Interior, five-term Washington Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers. Currently the highest-ranking woman in Congress, McMorris Rodgers has been praised by the disability community for her strong history of advocating for the rights of people with disabilities, and RespectAbility congratulates the Congresswoman on her nomination.

McMorris Rodgers has been a strong proponent of measures to support people with disabilities, such as the Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act, which allows people with disabilities to set up tax-free savings accounts, and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), which ensures access to education for children with disabilities.

“As part of America’s New Congress, we are here to advance real solutions,” McMorris Rodgers said in her comments on the signing of the ABLE Act in 2015. “Solutions that make people’s lives better. Solutions that empower all Americans – no matter where they come from or how much money they make or what challenges they face.”

Earlier this December, McMorris Rodgers received the United States International Council on Disabilities’ Dole-Harkin award, which honors leaders who have been crucial players in the global disability rights movement.

Much of McMorris Rodgers’ work on disability is based on helping people with disabilities live independent lives.

“We want to live independently, we want to work, we want every opportunity for those with disabilities to have the opportunity to live the American Dream,” McMorris Rodgers said at a rally for the National Council on Independent Living last year.

Her dedication to disability rights comes from her experience raising a son with Down syndrome. Raising a child with a disability has made her “a better person and a better legislator,” McMorris Rodgers said.

McMorris Rodgers is active in the Down syndrome community as well, as the founder and co-chair of the Congressional Down Syndrome Caucus. She also helped launch the first season of Born This Way, a reality TV show that follows the lives of young adults with Down syndrome, at the Washington, D.C., premiere in December 2015.

As Secretary of the Interior, McMorris Rodgers would manage federal lands for conservation and mineral development and oversee national parks, giving the Congresswoman an opportunity to continue in her fight to bring equal opportunity to people with disabilities.

Published inTrump Transition

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