The National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities (NACDD) is saddened by the passing of two stalwart members of the United States Senate. Both Michigan Senator Carl Levin (Democrat) and Wyoming Senator Mike Enzi (Republican) worked tirelessly to protect people and ensure that all Americans had the best opportunities for a healthy and successful life. Both were bipartisan leaders who put people first and both had a deep caring for people with disabilities and chronic health conditions.
Senator Enzi, who served from 1997 – 2021 served as Chair of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pension (HELP) from 2005-2007. It was in this role that he really stepped forward to ensure that people with disabilities were getting the supports they needed to live a healthy life. Senator Enzi agree to have a Disability Policy Fellow from the Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr. Foundation work in his office who would advise him and his committee on the needs of people with disabilities. This JPK Fellow was Aaron Bishop, who later became Commissioner of the Administration on Disabilities (AoD).
Senator Levin, who served from 1979 – 2015 was a great leader of Civil Rights for all people and put most of his efforts into supporting our military and veterans. As Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Senator Levin brought principle and patriotism to his work, understanding that America’s strength is found not only in our military might, but in our faithfulness to our values. He believed that government can and should play a strong role in supporting people to live their best life, and he was known to hold his congressional colleagues accountable for ensuring that government was doing its job supporting the people of this nation.
We mourn the passing of these two congressional giants and our condolences go out to their friends and families. NACDD hopes that their leadership in congress reminds all that we too must ensure that every voice counts.