Policy Committee listens to concerns for people with intellectual disabilities

PHILADELPHIA, April 11 – State Reps. Stephen Kinsey and Isabella Fitzgerald, both D-Phila., hosted a House Democratic Policy Committee hearing today at SpArc Philadelphia to discuss concerns for people with intellectual disabilities.

"This hearing is an opportunity to hear from those on the front lines,” said Kinsey, a longtime advocate for individuals living with disabilities. “At the end of the day, it is incumbent upon us as a lawmaking body to help the thousands of disabled Pennsylvanians who are disadvantaged get the support and services they need and deserve. I look forward to continuing this conversation by working with my colleagues and finding ways to ensure that we are providing the necessary means to support the needs of our most vulnerable citizens here in the commonwealth."

“It’s our responsibility to help each individual, regardless of disability, to reach their maximum level of achievement and independence, given their specific circumstances,” Fitzgerald, cohost of today’s hearing, said. “We’re here to empower people with disabilities and provide them equal access to opportunities. They need to be treated fairly because they certainly have a lot to teach us and a lot to offer to society.”

“As policy makers, we need to work together with all stakeholders to pinpoint where the greatest needs lie. From there, we can establish ways to ensure those in need receive the care and support they require,” said state Rep. Chris Rabb, a member of the Policy Committee. “I thank Representatives Kinsey and Fitzgerald and the Policy Committee for their leadership and commitment to advocating for the needs of those with disabilities.”

“It’s important that we continue to stand up for people living with intellectual disabilities and make sure they have the resources needed to maintain a good quality of life,” said state Rep. Mike Sturla, chairman of the House Democratic Policy Committee. “This team of legislators is committed to making sure that happens, and I am happy to support their efforts.”

The committee heard testimony from: Larry Pace, director of operations and Liat Richardson Owens, program manager, from Philadelphia Intellectual disAbility Services; Kathy Brown-McHale, CEO, Special People In Northeast, Inc.; Vanessa Williams, PA IDD regional director, Resources for Human Development; Audrey Coccia, co-executive director, Vision for Equality; Marian Baldini, consumer and family satisfaction team manager, Vision for Equality; and Boyd Carroll, resident, Inglis House.