WEYMOUTH — State Sen. Patrick O’Connor was named Legislator of the Year by the Massachusetts Developmental Disabilities Council this week for his support of those with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
O’Connor, a Weymouth Republican, was honored at the 42nd annual legislative reception hosted by the Arc of Massachusetts and the Massachusetts Developmental Disabilities Council. State Rep. Aaron Michlewitz, a Boston Democrat, was also honored.
"I truly believe that the most important work we do is to help people, and we've found some issues we want to work on and expand to give people more opportunities," O'Connor said.
Senate President Karen Spilka presented the award, noting that O’Connor fought for the establishment of a caretaker abuse registry, known as Dana’s Law, initiatives to increase housing for adults with disabilities, a more diverse workforce by requiring state contracts to include persons with disabilities and quality special education programming in schools.
“Through his work it is very clear that Senator O’Connor cares deeply for his communities and all of the people that he represents and can always be counted on to stand up to fight for persons with disabilities,” Spilka said. “I’m proud as a senator and senate president of the work Senator O’Connor has done and I’m also proud to be here in Massachusetts where we know how to work across the aisle and get things done.”
O'Connor said Massachusetts is leading the way in services for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, from making workplaces more inclusive, to building more housing and expanding programs for when they turn 22 and leave special education and transition into the adult service system.
“It’s a special and unique place to be able legislate and do these things and both sides of the aisle agree on so many of them,” he said.
The Massachusetts Developmental Disabilities Council is an independent agency, funded by the federal government, dedicated to empowering people with developmental disabilities and their families to enjoy full and productive lives by promoting self-sufficiency, community inclusion and opportunity.
O’Connor represents the Plymouth and Norfolk district, which includes Cohasset, Duxbury, Hingham, Hull, Marshfield, Norwell, Scituate and Weymouth.
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