MDDC Names State Sen. Jennifer Flanagan Legislator of the Year

The Massachusetts Developmental Disabilities Council (MDDC) and the Arc of Massachusetts honored State Sen. Jennifer Flanagan (D-Leominster) and State Rep. Brian Dempsey (D-Haverhill) with Legislator of the Year awards during the 36th annual legislative reception on March 5, 2014. Senate President Therese Murray (D-Plymouth) and Speaker of the House Robert DeLeo (D-Winthrop) presented the awards.

“Senator Flanagan is a tremendous ally of the advocacy community and has taken strong positions on issues that truly matter to individuals with developmental disabilities,” said Dan Shannon, Executive Director of MDDC. “We look forward to continuing to work with her on this important issue.”

MDDC chose Flanagan as the recipient of the Legislator of the Year award for her continued support of legislation to support people with developmental disabilities. During discussions for the FY14 budget, Flanagan, who is Vice Chair of the Senate Committee on Ways and Means, successfully advocated for increased funding for the Turning 22 program, Family Support Services program, and Community Day and Work programs. Senator Flanagan is currently working with her colleagues to advance the priorities set by the Autism Commission, including legislation to expand the Department of Mental Health (DMH) and Department of Developmental Services (DDS) service options for individuals with autism.

MDDC hosted the legislative reception in conjunction with The Arc of Massachusetts. During the reception, The Arc of Massachusetts recognized State Rep. Brian Dempsey. During his tenure as the House Ways and Means Chair, he has supported the Family Support respite program, Day and Employment services, the Children’s Autism Medicaid Waiver, the Turning 22 program, and the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE)/DDS family preservation line items. He recently ensured that language requiring autism data collection was included in the House version of the information technology bond bill and is supportive of the goals of the Autism Commission report.