National Disability Association to Award U.S. Senator at ADA Celebration during the Republican National Convention

August 31, 2004


Kim E. Musheno
Director of Public Policy
301-588-8252
kmusheno@aucd.org

SILVER SPRING, MD (August 31, 2004)- To celebrate the 14th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (July 26, 1990), the Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD) has joined with the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD), sixteen other national sponsors, and local disability rights organizations to honor public officials who are disability rights champions. Honorees include elected officials from both the Democratic and Republican parties and awards will be given out in conjunction with their respective conventions. AUCD is pleased to honor Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) as a disability rights' champion tomorrow, September 1 in New York City at ceremonies to be held at the Time Warner Building in conjunction with the Republican National Convention. AUCD honored Rep. Steny H. Hoyer (D-5th MD) in July at the Boston event.

"Senator Grassley's extraordinary leadership in seeking enactment of the Family Opportunity Act, in protecting the Federal Medicaid program from cuts while seeking program improvements, seeking to end the institutional bias in Medicaid, and his attention to quality assurance issues are exceptionally worthy of commendation," stated AUCD President David Johnson, Ph.D. "Time after time Senator Grassley has stood up for good public policy even under intense political pressure to do otherwise. This has truly made Senator Grassley a hero to many people with disabilities, their families, and to our organization."

As Chairman of the Finance Committee, Sen. Grassley has taken the lead to introduce, promote, and protect programs that help people with disabilities and their families live independent, healthy, and productive lives in the community. These include introducing the Family Opportunity Act; protecting the State Children's Health Insurance Program; protecting the Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnosis and Treatment (EPSDT) benefit in the Medicaid program; taking steps to ensure that the health care needs of people with disabilities can be met in Medicaid managed care; protecting Medicaid from budget cuts while ensuring quality in the program; working toward a strong TANF reauthorization; enacting the Social Security Protection Act; and most recently taking the lead in promoting the Administration's New Freedom Initiative Medicaid demonstrations. All of these initiatives are critical to children and adults with developmental and other disabilities and their families.

"Children and adults with disabilities and their families in Iowa and throughout the country have better lives and greater access to the opportunities that this country provides its citizens because of the leadership and tireless efforts of Senator Grassley," added George Jesien, Ph.D. Executive Director of AUCD.

Jesien will present the award to Grassley in absentia. Other honorees include Senator Arlen Specter (R-PA), Senator John Sununu (R-NH), Senator Susan Collins (R-ME), Representative Robert Simmons (R-CT), Representative John Shimkus (R-IL), Representative Jim Ryun (R-KS), Representative C.W. Bill Young (R-FL), Representative F. James Sensenbrenner (R-WI), NY State Senator Nick Spano. Other speakers include Eunice Kennedy Shriver, Christina Curry (Executive Director, Harlem Independent Living Center), Matthew Sapolin (Executive Director, NYC Mayor's Office for People with Disabilities), and Senator Sam Brownback (R-KS). Cheryl Sensenbrenner, a noted advocate for people with disabilities, will serve as Mistress of Ceremonies.

AUCD, located in Silver Spring, MD, is a non-profit organization that promotes and supports the national network of interdisciplinary centers advancing policy and practices through research, education and services for and with individuals with developmental and other disabilities, their families, and communities. For any questions, contact Kim Musheno at 301-588-8252; kmusheno@aucd.org.