Easter Seals Midwest recently presented Missouri Senator Eric Schmitt, (R) St. Louis, with the 2014 Outstanding Advocate Award. This annual award, first presented in 1991, is given each year by Easter Seals National Board of Directors to honor sustained efforts by elected and appointed state level officials whose work and personal examples have made a significant difference in the lives of people with disabilities.
As the parent of a child with autism, Senator Schmitt not only backs bipartisan efforts and supports legislation that benefits some of Missouri’s most vulnerable individuals, but he also has firsthand knowledge of the needs of people with developmental disabilities.
Over the past five years, Senator Schmitt has sponsored legislation that created an autism insurance mandate in Missouri, codified five statewide autism projects, and had the phrase “mental retardation” removed from State statutes. Additionally, he helped secure more than $2.7 million in new appropriations for disability services in Missouri.
“Thanks to Senator Schmitt, more than 1.6 million Missourians are now covered by a health plan that offers coverage for autism therapy, including Applied Behavior Analysis,” stated Wendy Sullivan, chief executive officer of Easter Seals Midwest. “Prior to the legislation that he co-sponsored, autism was the only one of 12 neurobiological disorders specifically excluded from insurance coverage. We are very fortunate to have an individual with the integrity and commitment of Eric Schmitt serving the citizens of Missouri, and we are grateful that he understands and promotes the value of children and adults with disabilities as they learn, live work and participate in their communities.”
Eric Schmitt was one of four elected officials nationwide to receive the 2014 Outstanding Advocate Award, and the only one from Missouri. He lives in Glendale, a suburb of St. Louis, with his wife and three children.
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