Closing Plenary: Engaging with Congress to Achieve Equitable Communities

AUCD2020 Closing Plenary

November 5, 2020

Join us on Wednesday during the conference for the pre-recorded Closing Plenary: Engaging with Congress to Achieve Equitable Communities to learn about the legislative work and priorities of elected disability advocates in Congress.

This year, we are pleased to announce that Senator Sherrod Brown (Ohio), Senator Bob Casey(Pennsylvania), Senator Patty Murray (Washington), and Legislative Assistant Gil Ruiz with the Office of Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (New York) have pre-recorded their parts for the plenary. John Tschida, AUCD's Executive Director, and Rylin Rodgers, AUCD's Director of Public Policy, are the co-moderators for the discussion.

In prior years, we have heard from leaders on both sides of the aisle, including Senator Bob Casey (Pennsylvania), Senator Steve Daines (Montana), Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (New York), Congresswoman Deb Haaland (New Mexico), Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (Washington) and Senator Patty Murray (Washington).

When planning what to discuss with Congressional Offices at your virtual Hill meetings, we recommend you look to the following resources:


  • #AUCD2020 Virtual Hill Visit Toolkit: Pages 7-9 of the Toolkit provide possible topics to discuss, such as education, healthcare, and employment, as well as links to resources to learn more about those topics.
  • Priority Needs for COVID-19 Response: A short document that shares what the AUCD network and greater disability community need during the COVID-19 pandemic, with specific COVID-19 relief asks and why that form of relief is needed.
  • AUCD State Profiles: Find state-specific information about people with disabilities and the AUCD network center(s) in your state.



Confirmed Speakers for 2020 Closing Plenary:


Senator Sherrod BrownSenator Sherrod Brown

Senator Brown first became elected to the U.S. Senate in 2006 to represent Ohioans. He supports strengthening and modernizing the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). In 2012, Senator Brown voted yes for Senate approval of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, a United Nations treaty created to recognize the rights of persons with disabilities and to protect those rights. He is the Ranking Member on the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee. Read more about Senator Brown on his official webpage.

Twitter: @SenSherrodBrown



Senator Bob CaseySenator Bob Casey

Senator Casey has been representing Pennsylvanians since 2006. In the summer of 2020, he hosted a Virtual Disabilitity Employment Summit. Senator Casey is the Ranking Member on the Special Committee on Aging, which can have an oversight role in the legislative process affecting people with disabilities. Read more about Senator Casey on his official webpage.

Twitter: @SenBobCasey




Senator Patty MurraySenator Patty Murray

Senator Patty Murray of Washington State has been serving in the Senate since 1993. She currently serves as Ranking Member ofthe Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, which has oversight of legislation affecting people with disabilities. A unique voice in the United States Senate, Patty is known for her down-to-earth, determined style. Read more about Senator Murray on her official webpage.

: @PattyMurray




Photo of Gil Ruiz

Legislative Assistant Gil Ruiz

Gil Ruiz works for Kirsten Gillibrand, United States Senator for New York. He grew up in California and Las Vegas, and graduated from Baylor University with adegree in Medical Humanities. Gil founded an annual health fair in Waco, Texas, and has led trips to Costa Rica to work with rural schools. He loves (and blogs about) Arsenal Football Club and anything soccer-related.