This year I had a very unexpectedly pleasant experience with initiating legislation and trying to get a couple of bills passed regarding autism housing. As the director of a local non-profit The End of the Spectrum, I had no experience with government at this level and was told it was very unlikely I could get anything passed.
I was referred to Rep. Kathy Lohmer, R-Lake Elmo, and she listened patiently and sympathetically to the plight of the families I work with. She also very enthusiastically committed to helping in any way she could. We constructed two bills to address the problems, and Kathy was my driving force, especially with the more controversial bill to start an autism campus. She continually held firm to the belief that this was everyone’s issue, autism is not Republican or Democratic, and we needed to get everyone on board.
It is difficult to explain how complicated the legislative process is. Kathy, even as a first-term representative, was amazingly committed and adept at working our bills so that they were eventually passed. I am blessed to have been able to work with her, and hope she is re-elected so she can continue to make an impact on behalf of disabled individuals.