Rep. Jim Langevin Reflects on the ADA's 25th Anniversary

Below is a message from Congressman Jim Langevin, Representative of Rhode Island's 2nd congressional district:

On July 26, 2015, our nation will celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). This act was a cornerstone to ensure that the disability community had economic self-sufficiency, independent living, equality of opportunity and full participation in every aspect of their lives.

As a member of Congress, co-chair of the Bipartisan Disabilities Caucus, and someone who has lived with the challenges of a disability both before and after the ADA's enactment in 1990, I have experienced, firsthand, the profound changes that this law has effected within our society. I also recognize that there is still more work to do to fulfill the mission that the ADA set out to accomplish.

The necessity for full implementation of the ADA is something I strongly advocate for and personally believe in.

I am proud to have worked with my colleagues to pass the ADA Amendments Act in 2008. This revision to the ADA represented a historic alliance of leading employer, civil rights and disability groups, and it reaffirmed the protections that are paramount to the ADA.

Since the ADA Amendments Act was signed into law, I have continued to work to ensure equal opportunities for the disability community. Specifically, I have worked to expand access to community services and supports, promote international disability rights, remove obstacles to health and self-sufficiency and encourage the employment of people with disabilities.

Most recently, I introduced H.R. 1448, the "Transit Accessibility Innovation Act of 2015," which would create a competitive grant program under the Federal Transit Administration to encourage transit systems to make public transportation more accessible and user-friendly for individuals with disabilities.

I have also championed the introduction of H.R. 1631, a bill to improve medical rehabilitation research at the National Institutes of Health, and H.R. 1969, legislation to expand services and supports for family caregivers of military service members and veterans.

I am fortunate to have known and worked with Christopher and Dana Reeve. Their legacy, and the work the Reeve Foundation continues to do, gives me great pride and hope for what is ahead for the disability community.

But it will take us all coming together to keep these issues on the forefront for Congress.

Our nation as a whole has taken tremendous strides since the implementation of the ADA in 1990. Know that you have a champion in me and that you have a voice from the Reeve Foundation.

Together, we will continue to advocate for the disability community on the importance of the ADA and move toward creating a more accessible, inclusive and productive society for everyone.