On Wednesday, President Obama nominated Oregon State Representative Sara Gelser (HD -16) to serve on the National Council on Disability. If confirmed by the Senate, Gelser would become one of fifteen members of the Council, which advises Congress, Obama and executive branch departments on policies and programs that ensure equality and inclusion for people with disabilities.
The post would allow Gelser to keep her position in the Legislature, where she is Assistant Majority Leader and Chair of the House Committee on Education. She filed for re-election in early December.
As many know, Representative Gelser has worked consistently for appropriate services and for the rights of people with disabilities. Among other pieces of legislation, she pushed for changes in Medicaid to allow families to keep children with disabilities at home rather than being forced to move them to a nursing home. She also sponsored legislation that provided individuals with disabilities with substantial protections from caregiver abuse, and that allowed testimonies in court of those individuals with disabilities who may have been the victims of abuse.
Before joining the Legislature, Gelser served as the Children with Disabilities and Family Support Coordinator for the Oregon State Department of Human Services and as founder of the FG Syndrome Family Alliance. Additionally, she was a member of the Corvallis School Board and is the mother of four children, including a teenage son with disabilities. Her work in Washington, DC, if confirmed, will no doubt reflect this diverse set of experiences.
At the end of a week of nebulous reports about Obama’s leadership – healthcare, Copenhagen, Bernanke – it’s great to have some news that is obviously worthy of our approval.