Today the Senate adopted a resolution sponsored by Sen. Mike Padden, honoring people with Down syndrome and recognizing the efforts of people and organizations working on behalf of those with developmental disabilities.
Padden shared his personal commitment to policies that recognize the rights of those with Down syndrome.
“As a Legislature and as individuals we must make every effort to create a society that respects the rights and recognizes the value of every Washingtonian, including those with Down syndrome,” said Padden, R-Spokane Valley. “People with Down syndrome have a right to live where they want, to form their own families, to manage their own assets and to pursue their own dreams and goals.
“I am honored to offer this resolution applauding those with Down syndrome for their contributions to our state and all those individuals and organizations who have worked to protect the rights and lives of persons with disabilities.”
As Senate Resolution 8657 points out, there are more than 400,000 people living with Down syndrome in the United States today; it is the most commonly occurring chromosomal condition, with one in every 691 babies born with Down syndrome.
Several self-advocates for those with Down syndrome attended today’s reading of the resolution:
- Eric Matthes of Seattle works for the Arc of King County as outreach and advocacy coordinator for its advocacy program for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. He is a key member of the Advocacy Days team with the King County Family Coalition. He is also the president of People First of Washington and a past chair of the Community Advocacy Coalition. In 2015, he was appointed by Gov. Jay Inslee as a planning committee member for the 2015 Community Summit.
- Heather Comer, of Spokane Valley, was a gold medalist in alpine downhill skiing at the 2013 Special Olympics World Games in South Korea. She participated in the Special Olympics for more than 15 years. In 2013 she was also honored as the Washington State Athlete of the Year. She represents the state’s Eastern Region as a board member with the Special Olympics of Washington, and has been a board member with the Arc of Spokane for the last five years.
- Angela Martin, of Seattle, graduated from Eastside Catholic High school and lettered in swimming. She served on the board of directors for the Special Olympics of Washington for nine years, and has performed clerical work for the Grange Insurance Association for 23 years.
Padden also acknowledged the work of U.S. Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers, who represents the 5th Congressional District, covering the eastern third of the state.
“Representative McMorris Rodgers has been a leader on this issue, setting up the Down Syndrome Caucus in the U.S. House of Representatives,” notes Padden. “She is the mother of a son – Cole – who has Down syndrome, and she has done wonderful work in Congress to bring awareness to the needs of this community.”