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Spilka named ‘Legislator of the Year’ by two disability rights organizations

December 3, 2012

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Senator Spilka recognized at the Massachusetts Advocates Standing Strong (MASS) annual conference
(L to R: MASS State Coordinator Ed Bielecki, MASS Board of Directors Chairwoman Janet Laperle, Sen. Karen Spilka, and MASS Board of Directors Treasurer James Williams)

On Friday, at their first annual Independent Living Awards Dinner, the MetroWest Center for Independent Living (MWCIL) presented Senator Karen Spilka with their “Legislator of the Year Award” in recognition of her work on behalf of those with disabilities and their caregivers.

Senator Spilka was recognized for several initiatives, including her work on legislation to create the first public transit system in MetroWest, which has greatly increased the mobility and independence of those with disabilities in the region. The event also featured a roast of MWCIL Executive Director Paul Spooner in celebration of his 20th anniversary leading the organization.

Along with Spilka, the MWCIL honored Karen Langley, the state’s Director of Assistive Technology, and Commissioner Charles Carr of the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission for their work on behalf of the disabled community and their efforts to promote the independent living movement.

On Saturday, Senator Spilka was again recognized for her advocacy and commitment to improving the quality of life of the disabled. At their annual retreat, Massachusetts Advocates Standing Strong (MASS) named Spilka as Legislator of the Year for her dedicated work to support the programs and services that are vital to the disabled, their families, and caregivers. In selecting Spilka, MASS cited a number of initiatives she has championed during her career, including her work as the first Senate chair of the Joint Committee on Children, Families, and Persons with Disabilities and her work to change the name of the state’s Department of Mental Retardation to the Department of Developmental Services.

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