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Class of 2022-2023
Texas Partners in Policymaking

Please join us in giving a warm welcome to our Texas Partners in Policymaking 2022-23 class. From across the great state of Texas, 35 individuals are beginning their journeys to learn more about disability rights issues, further their understanding of systems that impact individuals with disabilities, and take their advocacy skills to the next level. These class members will develop strategies to advocate for public policy change and define actionable steps through community projects to improve the lives of Texans with developmental disabilities (DD) in their local areas.

With more than 700 graduates, Texas Partners in Policymaking is an advanced leadership training program for self-advocates and family members of people with DD. The program is organized and funded by the Texas Council for Developmental Disabilities (TCDD) and is the Texas chapter of the Partners in Policymaking program developed in 1987 by the Minnesota Governor’s Council on Developmental Disabilities.  Today, Partners programs are offered across the nation and internationally. During the program, participants learn information and skills necessary to partner with policymakers and advocate for important disability issues at the local, state, and federal levels. Participants also develop projects to increase accessibility and inclusion in their communities.

Ultimately, graduates of the program work to influence policy and change systems so that more people with DD are fully included in their communities and exercise control over their own lives.

About the 2022-2023 Class

Selected for their passion and commitment to disability advocacy, Texas Partners in Policymaking class members are self-advocates (people with disabilities), family members, and professionals working in education and public service who have shown a deep interest in creating more inclusive communities. The 35 members of this year’s class come from cities and towns in nearly every region of Texas.

The following list includes the names and hometowns of this year’s participants:

  • Nicole Agado – Bowie
  • Tiffany Angus – Longview
  • Brianna Arnett – Tyler
  • Marissa Ballesteros – Laredo
  • David Chapple – Austin
  • Jingjia “JC” Chen – Katy
  • Cynthia Decker – Dripping Springs
  • Elizabeth Ferry – Austin
  • Laurie Williams George – Fort Worth
  • Kristen Gooch – Austin
  • Tamara Green – Mesquite
  • Stephanie Gutierrez – Manchaca
  • Shana Halvorsen – Houston
  • Beverly Hamilton – Austin
  • Denay Hooks – Lubbock
  • Melissa Hudson – Mission
  • Amanda Jackson – Plano
  • Jason Jones – Houston
  • Carrie Mamantov – Grapevine
  • Tonya McLouth – McKinney
  • Robert Miller – Round Rock
  • Virginia “Ginnie” Miller – Houston
  • Courtney Page – Grapevine
  • Bridgette Paul – McKinney
  • Jessamyn Putnam – Spicewood
  • Claudia Betancourt Rodriguez – McKinney
  • Jessica Sari Rothe – Highland Village
  • Molly Saenz – El Paso
  • Demetrice Smith – Ducanville
  • Sidney Snow – Houston
  • Elizabeth Spear – Austin
  • Lisa Thompson – Atlanta
  • Kareen Thornock – Cleveland
  • Micheal Vaughn – Round Rock
  • Meg Wallace – Woodway

Those interested in joining a future class can look for applications to open in spring 2023. Stay informed by subscribing to the TCDD newsletter.

Learn about Partners in Policymaking alumni and the projects they’ve launched in communities across Texas.

TCDD serves as a resource to state government to create responsive policies and systems and helps communities across Texas build capacity to support and include people with DD in all areas of life.