Ruiz, Bucco, Greenwald and Dunn Co-Chair Bipartisan Disability Caucus

Ruiz

The New Jersey Council on Developmental Disabilities (NJCDD), the lead advocacy organization supporting the New Jersey Legislative Disability Caucus, is pleased to announce that Senate Majority Leader Teresa Ruiz, Assembly Majority Leader Lou Greenwald, Senator Anthony Bucco and Assemblywoman Aura Dunn will serve as co-chairs of the bipartisan Disability Caucus for the 2022-2023 Legislative Session. All four lawmakers were founding members of the Caucus that launched last year.

The New Jersey Disability Caucus is a bipartisan forum within the New Jersey Legislature comprised of lawmakers committed to promoting inclusion by considering the impact on the disability community when shaping ALL public policies in the Garden State. The quarterly meetings of the Caucus aim to increase awareness and provide lawmakers and their staff with a greater understanding of the complexities of the disabilities service system and issues impacting individuals with disabilities and their families. Recordings of the meetings held to date can be viewed here.

“This bipartisan caucus is an opportunity to further improve healthcare, education, transportation, housing and employment for New Jerseyans with disabilities. We will forever be grateful to Senate President Steve Sweeney for getting this historic Caucus off the ground despite the pandemic. We also appreciate Senator Ruiz, Assemblyman Greenwald, Senator Bucco and Assemblywoman Dunn for stepping up now and dedicating their leadership to moving the state closer to inclusion and equity for all,” said Mercedes Witowsky, Executive Director of NJCDD.

Approximately 25 percent of adults in New Jersey identify as having some type of disability. Despite progress after passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) 30 years ago, people with disabilities in New Jersey continue to seek opportunities to be included and represented in all aspects of life as an integral part of the fabric of our society. New Jersey is among just a handful of states that has a bipartisan forum within its Legislature dedicated to disability issues.

“As a strong advocate for educational equity, it is important that we are leaning into the unique needs of all of our students,” said Senate Majority Leader Teresa Ruiz (D-29). “I am excited to co-chair the disability caucus and continue to take part in the effort to improve the lives of our residents and learn how we can better serve everyone that calls New Jersey home.”

“I am proud to serve with my colleagues as co-chairs of this meaningful caucus and continue our work to ensure individuals with disabilities have a voice in all aspects of policy making. One in every 10 New Jersey residents lives with a disability, so it is incredibly important they are represented at all levels of government,” said Assembly Majority Leader Lou Greenwald (D-6)”

“I could not be prouder of having been named a Senate Co-Chair for this dedicated powerhouse team committed to bettering the lives of the more than one million New Jersey adults living with disabilities,” Senator Anthony Bucco (R-25) said. “As this bipartisan caucus progresses into its second year, we share ambitious goals and high expectations and focus on providing the disability community a stronger voice in Trenton. There is much to be accomplished, and working together, there is much we will achieve.”

“My entire career has been devoted to advocacy and breaking down barriers, and I am honored to carry those qualities into my new role as co-chair of the disability caucus,” said Assemblywoman Aura Dunn (R-25).  “With my fellow lawmakers and advocates, I look forward to finding bi-partisan solutions that will improve the lives of those with disabilities and their families. Giving this community a seat at the decision-making table and a voice in Trenton is key to shaping inclusive public policies that support, empower and uplift.”

Legislative Disability Caucus Members

 

Senator Anthony M. Bucco, Co-ChairSenator Kristin M. CorradoSenator Patrick J. Diegnan, Jr.Senator Vin GopalSenator Linda R. GreensteinSenator Fred H. Madden, Jr.Senator Declan J. O’Scanlon, Jr.Senator M. Teresa Ruiz, Co-ChairSenator Holly T. SchepisiSenator Nicholas P. ScutariSenator Troy SingletonSenator Bob SmithSenator Jean StanfieldSenator Joseph F. VitaleSenator Andrew Zwicker

Assemblyman Daniel R. BensonAssemblyman Clinton CalabreseAssemblywoman Annette ChaparroAssemblyman Herb Conaway, Jr., M.D.Assemblyman Ronald S. DancerAssemblywoman Aura K. Dunn, Co-ChairAssemblywoman Kimberly EulnerAssemblyman Louis D. Greenwald, Co-ChairAssemblywoman Angelica M. JimenezAssemblywoman Pamela LampittAssemblywoman Yvonne LopezAssemblywoman Nancy F. MunozAssemblywoman Carol A. MurphyAssemblywoman Marilyn PipernoAssemblywoman Annette QuijanoAssemblyman Gary S. SchaerAssemblyman William W. SpearmanAssemblywoman Shanique SpeightAssemblywoman Britnee N. TimberlakeAssemblyman Brandon UmbaAssemblyman Anthony S. Verrelli

 

 

Supporting Agencies

 

New Jersey Council on Developmental DisabilitiesACCSES NJAdvocates In ActionAlliance Center for IndependenceASAH Serving the private special education community since 1974ASL Interpreter Referral Service, Inc.Aspire Support Coordination, LLCAutism New JerseyBrain Injury AllianceCoaching-Connections, LLC. Of Middlesex CountyCollaborative Support Programs of New Jersey (CSPNJ)Community Access UnlimitedCommunity Supports NetworkConsistent Supports CoordinationDAWN Center for Independent LivingDevereux Advanced Behavioral Health – New JerseyDisability AlliesDisability Rights New Jersey (DRNJ)Easterseals New JerseyEmployment Horizons, Inc.Families and Community Together (FACT)Hearing Loss Assn of AmericaHeightened Independence and Progress Center for Independent Living (HIP)Jewish Federations of New JerseyInroads to OpportunitiesLaura Bishop CommunicationsMental Health Association in New JerseyMoceans Center for Independent LivingNAMI NJNational Multiple Sclerosis SocietyNJ Association of Centers for Independent Living (NJACIL)New Jersey Association of Mental Health & Addiction Agencies, Inc. (NJAMHAA)New Jersey Deaf Housing, IncNew Jersey Disability CollectiveNJ Association of Human Services DirectorsNJ Joint Council on Special ServicesNortheast ADA CenterNew Jersey State Independent Living CouncilOmbudsman for Individuals with Intellectual or Developmental Disabilities and Their FamiliesPromise Day HabilitationProgressive Center MercerSPAN Parent Advocacy NetworkSpecial Child Health Services of Hunterdon CountySupportive Housing Association of New JerseyThe Alliance for the Betterment of Citizens with Disabilities (ABCD)The Arc of New JerseyThe Boggs Center on Developmental Disabilities, Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical SchoolThe New Jersey Association of Community Providers (NJACP)

 

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About the NJ Legislative Disability CaucusThe Caucus was formed December 1, 2020, and serves as a bipartisan forum within the New Jersey Legislature for lawmakers and their staff to consider the impact on the disability community when shaping ALL public policies in the Garden State. Participation in the Caucus is open to all legislators who agree to be champions for individuals with disabilities in New Jersey by meeting with them in their district offices; participate in the quarterly education forums; and promote policies to improve the lives of people with disabilities and their families. People with disabilities, their families and organizations that serve, support and advocate for people with disabilities in the Garden State serve as a resource for the NJ Legislative Disability Caucus. For more information, visit https://njcdd.org/legislative-disability-caucus/.

 

About the NJCDD

The New Jersey Council on Developmental Disabilities (NJCDD) is a federally-mandated organization located in but not of the NJ Department of Human Services.

NJCDD works to ensure individuals with intellectual/developmental disabilities (I/DD) and their families, participate in the design of and have access to needed community services, individualized supports, and other forms of assistance that promote self-determination, independence, productivity, integration and inclusion in all facets of life through culturally competent programs.

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