BOSTON - Yesterday, the Massachusetts Developmental Disabilities Council and The Arc of Massachusetts held their 39th Annual Legislative Reception.  They recognized Legislators of the Year Senator Jason Lewis and Representative James J. O’Day. 

Expected attendees speaking at the ceremony included Governor Charlie Baker, Senate President Stan Rosenberg, Majority Leader Ron Mariano, and Secretary of the Executive Office of Health and Human Services Marylou Sudders.    

The event was held at the Great Hall of the State House. WBZ-TV news anchor Chris McKinnon served as Master of Ceremonies.  

Senator Jason Lewis has been a leader in shaping public policy on a range of important issues including healthcare, education, and economic opportunity for all. He successfully co-sponsored an Act providing for nondiscrimination in access to organ transplantation, which became law in 2016. He worked to increase funding in the FY17 state budget to improve access to health care, health and human services, affordable housing, and other essential services for individuals with disabilities. 

He has been a strong advocate for budget priorities including Turning 22, Family Support, Adult Omnibus, and a leading supporter of the Operation House Call program. During the budget process last year, the Senate accepted Sen. Lewis’ outside section to add cueing and prompting to the Personal Care Attendant program. Sen. Lewis graduated from Harvard College and earned an MBA from Harvard University. He represents the people of Malden, Melrose, Reading, Stoneham, Wakefield, and parts of Winchester.

Rep. James J. O’Day, who represents the people of West Boylston and part of Worcester, has been a champion for the most vulnerable residents of the Commonwealth. In August 2016, Rep. O’Day was successful in passing legislation for companies contracting with state agencies to commit to hiring persons with disabilities, ensuring that they are afforded equal opportunities in the workplace.

He is the sponsor of an Act relative to Cueing and Supervision in the PCA Program. Rep. O’Day is the House Chairman of the Joint Committee on Municipalities and Regional Government.  Previously, Rep. O’Day served as the House Chairman of the Joint Committee on Elder Affairs, Interim Chairman of the House Committee on Bills in Third Reading, and on the Joint Committees on Mental Health and Substance Abuse and Children, Families and Persons with Disabilities. Prior to joining the Legislature, Rep. O’Day was a social worker for the Department of Social Services (now DCF) for more than 20 years.

The Massachusetts Developmental Disabilities Council (Council) is an independent agency funded by the federal government. The Council provides opportunities for people with developmental disabilities and their families to enhance independence, productivity, and inclusion.

The Arc of Massachusetts (The Arc) is a statewide advocacy organization representing 200,000 individuals with 18 chapters in the state. Its mission is to enhance the lives of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, including autism, and their families. We fulfill this through advocacy for community supports and services that foster social inclusion, self-determination, and equity across all aspects of society.  To learn more, visit www.thearcofmass.org   

For more information call Leo Sarkissian 617-838-8832

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