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Developmental-disability group awards Sen. Fain as up-and-coming leader

Sen. Joe Fain in his Olympia office with a group from Puget Sound Personnel, a Bellevue-based supported employment agency. - Courtesy photo
Sen. Joe Fain in his Olympia office with a group from Puget Sound Personnel, a Bellevue-based supported employment agency.
— image credit: Courtesy photo

Sen. Joe Fain, R-Auburn, recently was recognized as an "Emerging Leader on Developmental Disabilities" by The ARC of King County's Parent Coalition for his work and support in the Legislature.

"I'm proud to be able to advocate for developmentally-disabled individuals that aspire to be involved in the community and have a strong desire to be employed," said Fain, who has been a staunch advocate for the DD community since arriving at the state Senate in 2010.

During the 2012 session, Fain co-sponsored a bill that strengthens the state's commitment to helping individuals with developmental disabilities find and retain jobs. The measure, which was signed into law by the governor and went into effect June 7, reflects Fain's leadership on fighting to maintain essential program funding for the DD community in the highly-debated operating budget earlier this year.

"The employment-support legislation and funding is a major win for all Washingtonians," Fain said. "Skills training and job-placement assistance has a tremendous impact on their lives, providing them with the opportunity to hold a job, which greatly increases one's personal pride and confidence. It is also a valuable resource for local employers."

The ARC of King County directly supports thousands of developmentally-disabled individuals and their families through outreach, advocacy and assistance programs. The Parent Coalition, a program within The ARC that includes more than 1,000 parents, family members and guardians working together to advocate for important programs, presents annual awards to legislators who have been dedicated and successful working on behalf of the developmental-disability community. This year they recognized Sens. Fain, Margarita Prentice of Renton, Karen Keiser of Kent and Reps. Mary Lou Dickerson of Seattle and Ruth Kagi of Shoreline.

“This award is well deserved as Senator Fain has been dedicated and involved with the disability community for several years,” said Trish Borden, executive director of Trillium, an organization that works with both job-seekers with developmental disabilities and local businesses to match candidates with the best opportunities for their long-term professional success. “Before taking office he spent time learning about the capabilities and aspirations of the young people with special needs in his district and made a commitment to working in the Legislature to promote employment as the best option for all young people.”

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