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AUCD - Closing Plenary: Engaging with Policymakers on Pressing Issues Facing the Disability Community

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Wednesday, November 16, 2022 9:00 am - 12:00 pm

Location: M2: Salon 5

Session Description

With the goal of hearing from a broad spectrum of policymakers, AUCD is holding the closing plenary at the Marquis. Join us to hear from champions about their priorities and policies. AUCD will also present two Congressional Champion Awards and the 2022 Gold Star Award.

Plenary Speakers

Photo of Senator Daines

Senator Steve Daines

Video Remarks

A fifth-generation Montanan, Steve Daines brings 28 years of private-sector business experience to Washington, D.C. as he serves the people of Montana in the U.S. Senate. In the U.S. Senate, Daines is working on issues of critical importance to growing good-paying Montana jobs, developing our state’s energy resources, managing and protecting our public lands and supporting the needs of Montana’s veterans and tribes. He serves on the Senate Committees on Finance, Banking Housing and Urban Affairs, Energy and Natural Resources, and Indian Affairs.

Read more about Senator Steve Daines on his official webpage.


Senator Chris Murphy

Video Remarks

Chris Murphy, the junior United States Senator for Connecticut, has dedicated his career to public service as an advocate for Connecticut families. Senator Murphy has been a strong voice in the Senate fighting for job creation, affordable health care, education, sensible gun laws, and a forward-looking foreign policy. As a member of the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee (HELP) Senator Murphy has worked to make college more affordable and ensure that our public education system works to serve all students.

Read more about Senator Murphy on his official webpage.


Photo of Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers

Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers

In-Person Remarks

Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers represents with the people of Eastern Washington. She is currently serving as the Chair of the House Republican Conference, a position making her highest ranking female Republican in the House of Representatives. Her mission is to restore trust and confidence in representative government and the rule of law, and lead as a trust-builder, ability-advocate, and unifying force to get results for hardworking men and women in Eastern Washington.

Read more about Congresswoman McMorris Rodgers on her official webpage. Twitter: @cathymcmorris


Additional Speakers

  • Sarah Mueller, Disability Policy Advisor, Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee (for Chairwoman Patty Murray)
  • Phoebe Ball, Disability Policy Counsel, Education and Labor Committee (for Chairman Bobby Scott)
  • Brad Thomas, Senior Education Policy Advisor, Committee on Education and Labor (Republicans for Ranking Member Virginia Foxx)
  • Peter Mills, Legislative Assistant, Senator Chris Murphy
  • Michael Thornton, Self-Advocate from Arkansas, Faculty Advisor for Arkansas Mississippi LEND Program


Awards Presentation

Congressional Champion Award

The Congressional Champion Award is given to a Member of Congress who has spent their career in public service working to pass public policies that improve the lives of people with disabilities. We present this award to a Senator or Representative who has championed legislation that fulfills AUCD's mission of advancing policies and practices that improve the health, education, social, and economic well-being of all people with developmental and other disabilities, their families, and their communities, so they can lead self-determined lives, independent, productivity, and healthy lives in their communities.

Congressman Jim Langevin

Congressman Jim Langevin (LAN'-jih-vin) is a senior member of the House Armed Services Committee, on which he chairs the Cyber, Innovative Technologies, and Information Systems Subcommittee and serves on the Subcommittees on Seapower and Projection Forces and Strategic Forces. He is a senior member of the Committee on Homeland Security and serves on its Subcommittees on Intelligence & Counterterrorism and Cybersecurity, Infrastructure Protection, & Innovation.

Langevin was one of four legislators appointed to serve on the Cyberspace  Commission, and he co-founded the Congressional Cybersecurity Caucus, which he still co-chairs, to increase awareness around the need for stronger cybersecurity. A national leader on securing our nation’s technology infrastructure against cyber threats, Langevin has authored or co-authored dozens of pieces of cybersecurity legislation, including most recently the National Cyber Director Act.

As co-chair of the bipartisan Congressional Career and Technical Education Caucus, Langevin advocates to improve and increase access to training that gives students and workers the skills that best fit the needs of expanding industries. He has successfully fought for strong CTE funding under the Carl D. Perkins Vocational and Technical Education Act and has worked to foster employer-educator partnerships and career training programs across a variety of career fields in Rhode Island.

A voice for those facing health challenges, Langevin championed passage of a bipartisan bill to expand services for families caring for their elderly and disabled loved ones. He is a strong advocate for inclusion and independence for people with disabilities and helped pass the ADA Amendments Act that strengthened the protections of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Mike Doyle

Mike Doyle is currently serving his fourteenth term in Congress representing the 18th District of Pennsylvania, which includes the City of Pittsburgh and 53 other communities in Allegheny County.

His top priorities include creating jobs and revitalizing communities in the 18th District through economic development and high-tech initiatives, reforming health care, providing better public education, and establishing a comprehensive national energy strategy to curb climate change and create green jobs.

Congressman Doyle serves on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which is one of only four exclusive committees in the House. There he sits on the subcommittees on: 1) Energy and 2) Communications and Technology. Congressman Doyle serves as the Chairman of the Communications and Technology Subcommittee.

Congressman Doyle has been working aggressively on the Energy and Commerce Committee to address climate change through the development of new, more energy-efficient technology and alternative and renewable sources of energy. He has also been working hard on the Energy and Commerce Committee to restore Net Neutrality and promote the availability of reliable, affordable, high-speed broadband internet service for all Americans.


AUCD Gold Star Award

Established in 2002, the AUCD Gold Star Award is presented to a Capitol Hill staffer who exemplifies a true partnership in crafting strong public policy. This award recognizes the staffer for his/her professional and personal efforts to craft policy and implement programs with input from AUCD and the greater disability community, thus supporting AUCD in achieving its mission to advance policy and practice for and with people living with developmental and other disabilities, their families, and communities.

Sarah Mueller, Disability Policy Advisor

U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pension (HELP)

Sarah Mueller was the Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr. Disability Policy Fellow at the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pension (HELP) and now serves as a Disability Policy Advisor for HELP. She formerly served as the Disability Policy Fellow at Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD). Before joining AUCD, Sarah was a University Center of Excellence on Developmental Disabilities Trainee at the Institute on Disabilities at Temple University. Both as a sibling and as a professional, Sarah has expertise on topics including special education, family/professional partnerships, and self-advocacy. Her personal and professional experiences combine to provide a unique perspective on disability and economic justice for people with disabilities.