The 2009 Down Syndrome AIA Conference

Mar 03, 2009

March 3, 2009

Last week’s Down Syndrome Affiliates in Action (AiA) Conference in Washington, D.C. was a huge success!  I was touched to see more than 300 folks from around the country make their way to Washington to promote public policies that can significantly enhance the quality of life for individuals with Down syndrome.  

I commend the attendees for what they are doing in their homes and communities.  Through their work, many families are discovering the same joy that I did, and with their continued support, many more families will have the opportunity to receive the resources they need when raising a child with Down syndrome. 

McMorris Rodgers at Down Syndrome AIA Breakfast
Click for more pictures

As a founder and co-chair of the Congressional Down Syndrome Caucus (CDSC), I was honored to speak at the AiA breakfast on Capitol Hill and “send off” the participants to meet with their Members of Congress.  Participants each had a list of things they were to ask their representatives.  I also encouraged them to share their personal stories with them so they can see what a blessing these children are bringing to people across the country.  

This has been particularly effective because everywhere I go, I meet people who share their stories about a loved one who has special needs and they all speak so well about the positive impact that this person had in their life.  It has helped me see a glimpse of the amazing impact Cole will continue to have on our lives and in this world.  My journey has also inspired me to tell parents faced with an experience like mine that you are not alone.  It is not the end, but the beginning and your baby will also lead a unique and important life.

Later in the afternoon, the CDSC hosted a policy forum on building purposeful and happy individuals, families and communities.  Pictures of the forum and from throughout the conference are here.  Disability advocate and blogger Patricia Bauer also put together this excellent recap of the entire conference.

The presenters included:

They each brought great knowledge on issues that affect individuals of all ages with Down syndrome and their families.  These issues are all near and dear to the presenters’ hearts since they have either a sibling or child with Down syndrome.  Click on each presenter’s name to read their testimony.  I’ve highlighted portions that were especially important to me.

Down Syndrome AIA Mock Hearing
Click for more pictures

I also recorded a video outlining my thoughts about the Down Syndrome AiA Conference as well as my opening statement.  Or, read my opening statement.

On Saturday, my husband, Brian Rodgers, spoke to the group and encouraged participants to make a long-term commitment to the efforts they focused on during the conference and to take great care of the relationships they made while they were visiting with Members of Congress and their staff.

The fact that so many folks full of enthusiasm came out to AiA conference makes me very optimistic.  As Brian said on Saturday, I encourage everyone who came to the conference, and even those who didn’t, to continue to talk with your Member of Congress or their staffer who handles these issues.  These relationships are invaluable and we must all work together to increase awareness about issues so children and adults with Down syndrome will continue to have a special and positive impact on this world.

I would like to thank the 2009 Down Syndrome AiA Planning Committee Members for all their hard work in making this wonderful event for all their hard work in making it happen.  Job well done!

Cathy McMorris Rodgers Signature

Recent Posts

McMorris Rodgers Introduces Bill Expanding Service Opportunities for Disability Community

Washington, D.C. – Eastern Washington Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (WA-05) reintroduced the Hannah Cvancara Service Act (H.R. 7405) to empower individuals with a non-service-connected amputation to serve the United States Armed Forces as medical personnel. This legislation was inspired by Hannah Cvancara, a Spokane resident who suffered a childhood amputation that disqualified her from serving […]

McMorris Rodgers, Cantwell Applaud Approval of Disaster Declaration for Spokane County Following Devastating Wildfires

Washington, D.C. – Today, President Joe Biden declared that a major disaster exists in Spokane County and ordered federal assistance to supplement recovery efforts in the aftermath of the Gray Fire and the Oregon Road Fire in August 2023. After the announcement, Eastern Washington Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (WA-05) and U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) […]

Feb 15, 2024

McMorris Rodgers Helps Pass Bipartisan Bill to Block President Biden’s LNG Export Ban, Unleash American Energy

Washington D.C. – Today, Eastern Washington Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (WA-05) helped the House of Representatives pass the Unlocking Our Domestic LNG Potential Act (H.R. 7176) to reverse President Biden’s American liquified natural gas (LNG) export ban. She released the following statement after the vote: “The President’s decision to impose a ban on new permits […]