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Public Statements

Increasing Access, Ensuring Equal Opportunity


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This week we celebrate the 20th Anniversary of the enactment of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). This act has changed our nation and has played a crucial role in ensuring that America is the land of opportunity for all individuals by making sure a person's physical challenges are not a barrier to their success.

When the bill was signed in 1990, it was the most significant federal civil rights legislation since the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The ADA increases physical access for Americans with disabilities -- through technology, improvements to transportation, the workplace, buildings and services -- and also gives the 297,100 working age individuals in Wisconsin who report one or more disabilities, every opportunity to share their talents in today's workforce. The ADA protects Americans with disabilities from discrimination in employment, housing and public places, ensuring they are able to achieve their full potential.

We've made real progress but we must continue to adjust as our country evolves to ensure inclusion and equality in everyday life. Since 1990, we've worked to strengthen the original bill and just this past week, passed legislation to increase access to telecommunications and video technology tools. It is important that we continue to make these improvements to overcome continued challenges.

To commemorate the 20th Anniversary, the House of Representatives declared that the ADA "fulfills the nation's goals of equality and opportunity, independent living, economic self-sufficiency, and full participation for Americans with disabilities." As we celebrate how far we've come, I hope that as a nation, we can continue to uphold opportunity and equality as key American values.

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