The National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities (NACDD) mourns the passing of Senator Bob Dole, a great leader of the U.S. Senate representing the State of Kansas and all Americans as he ably served as Leader of the Senate from 1985-1996. Senator Dole dedicated much of his work to issues he was truly passionate about – most notably, disability rights. As a wounded veteran of WWII, Senator Dole understood that people with disabilities of all types were viewed differently in our nation and that knowledge drove him to be a strong supporter of the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Dole’s work to move the ADA through the Senate and on to the White House was instrumental and helped to make the process truly bipartisan. Senator Dole went on to create a legacy of support for disability rights in the U.S. and abroad. He worked tirelessly toward his vision that the U.S. should lead the way for the word in advancing equality, justice, and dignity for people with disabilities. He was dealt a blow when Congress failed to ratify the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) but he didn’t let that stop him. His work supporting the rights of people with disabilities continued in the U.S. and abroad as he worked particularly on behalf of disabled veterans stationed in foreign countries.
Senator Dole prioritized people with disabilities and ensured that they were kept in the forefront by creating foundations, including his own eponymous Dole Foundation, and organizations including the American Association of People With Disabilities (AAPD) where he could continue advocating for the disabled.
We mourn the passing of this great man and share our deepest our condolences with his beloved wife and family. NACDD hopes his leadership in Congress reminds all that we must ensure that every voice is heard and continue the hard work of defending the rights and inclusion of people with disabilities.