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Congressman Young Awarded the “Friend of the Developmental Disabilities Act Programs”

Last week, members and advocates from Alaska’s disability community met with Alaska Congressman Don Young to discuss their legislative priorities and share their stories. The Governor’s Council on Disabilities and Special Education presented Congressman Young the “Friend of the Developmental Disabilities Act Program” Award.


Congressman Young met with the group in Anchorage to discuss legislative priorities and hear their personal experiences.

“It is an honor to receive this award from such a dedicated group of individuals,” said Congressman Young. “The work that the Developmental Disability Act Programs does on a daily basis is truly life-changing and inspiring. Advocating for the rights of the disability community here in Alaska is noble work. The time I spent hearing their stories and visiting with people that benefit from their effort is really quite special. As the only Congressman for Alaska, I will continue to fight for the needs of the disability community to ensure they have access to fair education, health care and skills training.”



Congressman Young and Patrick Reinhart, Executive Director of the Governor’s Council on Disabilities and Special Education

“We were honored to present this award to Congressman Young," said Patrick Reinhart. "He has shown time and time again that when it comes to our issues---disability issues—he gets it. He understands the struggles that individuals with disabilities and families have here in Alaska to access home and community based services.”

During the 115th Congress, Congressman Young has voted to protect the rights of individuals with disabilities and has sent appropriations letters in support of Development Disabilities funding.  Participants during the meeting include:

  • Patrick Reinhart, Executive Director of the Governor’s Council on Developmental Disabilities and Special Education
  • Sandra DeHart Mayor, Chair, Early Intervention Committee, parent from Anchorage
  • Dave Fleurant, E.D. of Disability Law Center
  • Lizette Stiehr, E.D. of Alaska Association of Developmental Disabilities (AADD)
  • Jimael Johnson, Program Officer, Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority
  • Mary Middleton, E.D. Stone Soup Group
  • Heidi Frost, E.D. Statewide Independent Living Council (SILC)
  • Doug White, E.D. Access Alaska
  • Duane Mayes, Director, Senior and Disability Services, DHHS
  • Patrick Reinhart, E.D. GCDSE
  • Kristin Vandagriff,  Planner, GCDSE
  • Ric Nelson, Program Coordinator, GCDSE
  • Anne Applegate, Program Coordinator, GCDSE staff
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