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CEO of Viscardi Center: Loss of President H.W. Bush and His Impact on the Disability Community

By John D. Kemp, President & CEO, The Viscardi Center

This past weekend, a great and honorable man, President George H. W. Bush passed away. I’d like to take this time, as the whole country continues to mourn his loss, to acknowledge President Bush’s remarkable life of service and how much his leadership meant to us and our families and friends. Under his guidance, our civil rights were finally assured.

President Bush was the most important American leader in 1989 and 1990 who encouraged and fully supported what former U.S. Senator Bob Dole, and other Members of Congress delivered to him, the Americans with Disabilities Act, for his signing into law in 1990. Our lives have been forever changed for the better, thanks to President Bush, Sen. Dole and many others. President Bush’s impact on the disability community will forever be a part of his legacy, as it not only changed disability civil rights here in the U.S. but, influenced disability-related policy around the world. The international community looks to the ADA as the gold standard when formulating their own country’s legal principles.

I knew this President Bush, and even spoke at the 1988 Republican National Convention in support of the Bush-Dole ticket. I knew his daughter Doro well (we served on the Board of the National Rehabilitation Hospital together), ’41’ and his family were tremendously humble and kind.

People with disabilities have lost a powerful advocate and friend; our military has lost a great Commander, and America has lost a dignified, humble, strong and very well-respected leader and public servant.

Please join me in taking a moment to recognize the man who ratified this history-making law that gave hope for equality to the nearly 60 million of us.


John D. Kemp

President & CEO

The Viscardi Center

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