Monday, December 24, 2012


Senator McCain, former Congressman Tony Coehlo, Senator Harkin, Senator Barrasso, and Senator Collins join in honoring Senator Bob Dole

On December 4th, the day after the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, a crowded room of persons with disabilities and advocates gathered in the Dirksen Senate Office Building to celebrate the lifetime service of Senator Bob Dole. His Senate colleagues joined together in a bipartisan fashion to honor Senator Dole as a veteran, Senator, Presidential Candidate, and friend. Senators Barrasso, Collins, Harkin, Kerry, and McCain each took a turn sharing their own stories of working with Senator Dole. Senator Dole’s wife, former Senator Elizabeth Dole joined him at the front of the room and also addressed the audience. Other Senators and former U.S. Attorney General Dick Thornburg attended the event to show support for Senator Dole.

Senator Kerry addressing Senator Dole

The Society joined the U.S. International Council on Disabilities (USICD) and over 50 other organizations in hosting the event. At the end of the event, John Kemp, President and CEO of Abilities! and Marca Bristo, President and CEO of Access Living and President of USICD, presented an award to Senator Dole for his service to the disability community throughout his career.

Senator Dole, who served in the U.S. Senate from 1969 to 1996 from Kansas, is himself a veteran with a disability. In his own words, Senator Dole has said that “it was an exceptional group I joined during World War II that no one joins by personal choice. It is a group that neither respects nor discriminates by age, sex, wealth, education, skin color, religious beliefs, political party, power or prestige.”

Throughout Senator Dole’s time in the Senate, he supported such legislation as the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) of 1975, the 1986 Air Carriers Access Act, and was a leader of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990. Senator Dole’s work has helped reduce barriers and improve the quality of life for Americans with disabilities. Most recently, Senator Dole has been a strong champion for ratification of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). Throughout Senator Dole’s career he has been a champion for the rights of persons with disabilities. For that, we thank him.

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