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Texas Partners in Policymaking Announces 2020 Class

Over 30 disability advocates have been selected to participate in the Texas Partners in Policymaking program. Graduates from the statewide program will become partners with policymakers in Texas and work to improve the lives of people with developmental disabilities (DD).

Texas Partners in Policymaking is an advanced leadership development training program for self-advocates and parents of children with DD.

Over the course of the nine-month program, participants will attend training sessions in Austin and San Antonio. During the trainings, participants will acquire the information and skills necessary to partner with policymakers and advocate for important disability issues at the local, state, and federal levels.

As part of the program, participants will also work on innovative projects that will improve the lives of people with DD in their communities. Ultimately, graduates will work to influence policy and change systems so more people with DD are fully included in their communities and exercise control over their own lives. Some of the graduates might go on to become policymakers themselves.

Texas Partners in Policymaking is a project of the Texas Council for Developmental Disabilities (TCDD).

A total of 33 participants from across the state were selected for the 2020 class. When the class graduates next May, they will join a network of 675 graduates in Texas. Listed below are the participants who were selected for the 2020 class.

  • Ameen Al-Bahloly – San Antonio
  • Chelsea Anders – Lubbock
  • Deborah Arrona – La Porte
  • Shannon Berry – Pearland
  • Jessaca Bond – San Antonio
  • Jocalyn Briggs – Mansfield
  • Cari Buetow – Pflugerville
  • Karen Carrillo – Rowlett
  • Consuelo Castillo – Round Rock
  • Deborah Cates – Fort Worth
  • Nedra Cheatham – Houston
  • Lauren Cloud – Round Rock
  • Desiree Collins Bradley – Fresno
  • Maribel Farish – Houston
  • Patricia Firkser – Austin
  • Shaun Ford – Seguin
  • Sonia Gonzales – Donna
  • Anne Henshaw – Roanoke
  • Jason Heye – San Antonio
  • Angelita Hunter – Van Alstyne
  • Wendy Kruse – Seguin
  • Wendy Maurer – The Woodlands
  • Christina Moore – San Juan
  • Elsie Morris Thomas – Beaumont
  • Saqib Mujtaba – Grapevine
  • Alyson Parish – Bridge City
  • Darryl Powell – Beaumont
  • Courtney Pugh – Carrollton
  • Monica Roman – San Antonio
  • Christa Starkey – Lone Oak
  • Danian Torres – Pharr
  • Anna Urie – Austin
  • Sarah Whitlock – Alvin

“We’re excited to have such an impressive group of self-advocates and parents in this year’s class,” said Dr. Beth Stalvey, TCDD’s executive director. “We look forward to training these individuals so they can partner with decision-makers and impact disability policies in Texas.”

About the program: Established in 1987, numerous Partners in Policymaking™ programs have been conducted in the United States and around the globe, resulting in more than 27,000 graduates worldwide who are creating positive change in their communities.