Governor Celebrates 20th Anniversary of the ADA
BANGOR - Governor John E. Baldacci today marked the 20th Anniversary of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) at an awards ceremony in Bangor hosted by The Maine ADA Coalition. The awards event recognized Maine individuals and organizations exhibiting dedication to advancing the goals of the ADA.
“Maine is a stronger community because of the ADA and its impact in advancing inclusion of people with disabilities and improving opportunities for them and their families,” said Governor Baldacci. “The vital work of the ADA didn’t stop when it was signed into law; it needs to be constantly supported and advocated for by us all.”
The Governor said that in many areas, Maine has been at the forefront of addressing accessibility and civil rights issues of people with disabilities. The Accessibility Regulations of the Maine Human Rights Commission were certified by the U.S. Department of Justice as equivalent to the ADA Standards for Accessible Design, making Maine one of only a handful of states with a certified standard.
The Baldacci Administration has promoted opportunities for Maine citizens with disabilities who want to live, learn, recreate and work. The Governor signed an Executive Order in 2006 to ensure that Maine State Government is a model employer for people with disabilities. Maine’s Chief Information Officer has maintained an Information Technology Accessibility Committee (ITAC) and has adopted accessibility policies and best practices for making the State web accessible.
Earlier this month, the Governor signed an Executive Order commemorating the ADA and reaffirming the State of Maine’s commitment to accessibility and inclusion of people with disabilities. “Since taking office in 2003, I have worked to ensure all Maine citizens have access to opportunities to realize their dreams here in Maine, and to promote efforts to grow prosperity for our state – now and into the future. People with disabilities are assets for Maine’s future and economic growth,” said the Governor.
The Governor presented six awards on behalf of the Maine ADA Coalition:
- Bowdoin College for promoting accessibility;
- Bangor Police Department for model compliance efforts by a State or municipal agency;
- Hilton Garden Inn in Lewiston for model delivery of goods or services by a public accommodation;
- Aroostook Mall staff for an organization working for improved service for the public;
- Jan DeVinney, former Director of Maine’s Division of Deafness, for an individual working for improved service for the public;
- Gracie Theatre, Husson University, in Bangor for Honorary Award, is a model for public accommodations.