Senator Maggie Hassan (D-NH) gave opening remarks at the Harkin Summit on November 2, 2017. She shared her family’s involvement with individuals with disabilities as her son has cerebral palsy. This helped to develop Hassan’s passion for public service, which eventually lead to her drive to become a legislator.
Her family’s experience demonstrated to her the progress there has been in policies related to individuals with disabilities. A standout moment was when her son was able to attend his first day of school, being picked up on the bus like any other student. The bus was wheelchair accessible, which allowed her son to participate in a way that wouldn’t have been possible just a few decades before.
In her position, Hassan emphasized the importance of policymakers listening to citizens to gain perspective into their experiences. Hassan focused on domestic policy when she offered her perspective on the benefits of the ACA and the need for bipartisanship when improving policies for individuals with disabilities. Hassan views the ACA as being beneficial to furthering independence for individuals with disabilities.
In closing her remarks, she hoped for a productive summit that can further progress the interests of individuals with disabilities to ensure inclusion and representation in the workplace.
“Fully including all people – regardless of their personal circumstances – is critical to the strength of our people and our society, and I am proud to represent a state that has a long history and tradition of inclusiveness.” Senator Hassan said. “During my time as Governor, I worked with members of both parties, advocates, and members of our state’s business community to end a practice in our state where employers could pay employees who experience disabilities a subminimum wage. I am proud to stand with advocates from around the world fighting to include people who experience disabilities, and I look forward to continuing to work across the aisle to ensure that individuals with disabilities have the support they need.”
Written by Madeline Miller