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Meet Congressman Jim Langevin, Champion of REAADI and DRMA

Photo of Jim Langevin in a suit and red, white and blue tie, in front of an American flag. He is a white middle-aged man with blond hair and glasses, smiling.The disability community is fortunate to have Jim Langevin alongside us in our quest for equity; especially in the area of disaster planning, mitigation, response and recovery.

Representative Langevin joined forces with The Partnership, and with Senator Bob Casey (PA) and Congressman Panetta (CA) to reintroduce the REAADI (Real Emergency Access for Aging and Disability Inclusion) for Disasters Act (S. 1755 /H.R. 3208) on June 11, 2018 into the 116th Congress (2019-20), and again in the 117th Congress (2021-22). He then also collaborated with Senator Casey and then Congresswoman Shalala to introduce The Disaster Relief Medicaid Act (DRMA) (S. 1754 /H.R. 3215) concurrently.

These two historic pieces of disability and disaster legislation are aimed at taking care of older adults and people with disabilities during disasters, in a way that is helpful and respects civil rights. They will dismantle barriers faced by disaster-impacted people with disabilities, older adults, people with access and functional needs, and other Medicaid-eligible people impacted by disasters; improve outcomes; and increase disaster resources for disability organizations, emergency managers and local communities.­

He spoke urgently at our Congressional Briefing; check out his speech below!

These remarks were delivered on March 30, 2022, when Congressman Langevin joined a distinguished guest roster in a Congressional Briefing on REAADI and DRMA. During his speech, he commended The Partnership for their work over the last few years in "making people with disabilities and older adults a forethought rather than an afterthought in disaster management." But then he got serious and said he needed to make something perfectly clear. "Supporting people with disabilities and older adults before, during and after disasters should not fall onto organizations like The Partnership. This is the government's responsibility, primarily."

He pointed out that passing both of these pieces of legislation would give people with disabilities and older adults a seat at the table during disaster planning. And he went on to stress that without intervention, people with disabilities and older adults suffer unnecessarily when disasters strike. The risk of institutionalization for some is great. "The status quo is unacceptable," he said.

It's all about creating a more open and inclusive society.

More About Jim Langevin

Representative Langevin entered public service in 1994, in his home state of Rhode Island, becoming the nation’s youngest Secretary of State. His leadership resulted in reforms to Rhode Island’s outdated election system and a landmark report documenting widespread violations of the state’s Open Meetings Law. He served in that role until winning election to Congress in 2000, as Representative for the 2nd Congressional District of Rhode Island.

Born April 22, 1964, Jim Langevin is the first quadriplegic to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives. Department in At the age of 16, Langevin was injured while working with the Warwick Police Department in the Boy Scout Explorer program. A gun accidentally discharged and a bullet struck Langevin, leaving him paralyzed. The tremendous outpouring of support from his community inspired Langevin to give something back and enter public service.

Congressman Langevin graduated from Rhode Island College and earned a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. He resides in Warwick, Rhode Island.

His appeal for our country is: let's get REAADI and DRMA to the President's desk ASAP.

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