TEXAS LEND PROGRAMS JOIN TOGETHER AT THE CAPITOL IN AUSTIN

05/20/2022


Picture includes members of ACT LEND and LoneStar LEND, and Scott Daigle from Texas Council for Developmental Disabilities. Hearing Room at the Texas Capitol Building, April 8, 2022.
Picture includes members of ACT LEND and LoneStar LEND, and Scott Daigle from Texas Council for Developmental Disabilities. Hearing Room at the Texas Capitol Building, April 8, 2022.

Texas LEND Programs Join Together at the Capitol in Austin 

Developing leadership skills through policy education and advocacy is integral to LEND training. In recognition of Autism Acceptance Month, the Autism Consortium of Texas LEND (ACT LEND) invited LoneStar LEND to join them at the Capitol in downtown Austin on Friday, April 8, 2022. Scott Daigle, Public Policy Director at the Texas Council for Developmental Disabilities, provided a full day of policy training to the LEND trainees. LEND trainees received training on how to be informed for upcoming disability-related legislation, as well as an overview of bills that were considered during the past legislative session. Trainees also had the opportunity to meet with current Texas legislators to present policy briefs the trainees developed in the fall. The Texas Legislature meets every two years, and several trainees commented that the experience provided them with the confidence to take a more active role in educating legislators about important I/DD issues during the 88th Legislative Session, which convenes on January 10, 2023. “This opportunity made advocacy seem feasible, legislators seen as accessible, and change that is possible to equip trainees for work that will improve the quality of life for individuals with I/DD,” said ACT LEND Leadership Training Director Kristen Padilla. 

As the two Texas LEND programs are located about a three-hour drive from each other, trainees were able to enjoy a rare opportunity to get to know each other in person during a catered lunch and tour of the Capitol building. This experience provided a unique opportunity for all LEND trainees to get a close-up look at Capitol meetings, spaces, and operations. Mary Gonzales, Texas House of Representatives, District 75, who is also passionate in advocating for legislation to better support individuals with I/DD, served as the state sponsor for the event that allowed trainees to meet in the one of the Capitol Hearing Rooms and dine in the Member’s Lounge.  

ACT LEND Director Sandy Magaña said, “Because ACT LEND is located at The University of Texas at Austin, we have easy access to the state Capitol, and are happy to extend that access to our fellow LEND colleagues from UT Health Houston.” Both programs look forward to opportunities for joint activities over the next few years. 

For more information, contact:

Email: [email protected]

Phone: 845-249-9921