Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Pelosi & Presidents

When Speaker Pelosi assumed the gavel last week, she mentioned two U.S. Presidents in her opening remarks, both of them Republicans.
As President Reagan said in his last speech as president: “If we ever closed the door to new Americans, our leadership in the world would soon be lost.”

I close by remembering a cherished former Member of this body, who rose to become a beloved President, and who, last month, returned once more to lie in state. That week, we honored President George Herbert Walker Bush with eulogies, tributes and tears. Today, I single out one of his great achievements – working with both Democrats and Republicans to write the Americans With Disabilities Act into the laws of our land.

As someone who has worked in facility maintenance and building management, I can say the ADA has made America feel less like Europe. When I traveled to Great Britain in 1997, everything felt smaller (and they notice the size difference in reverse, too). I've noticed similar building size proportions in New England as well.

With the passage of the ADA, passageways, doors, and corridors in buildings are now noticeably larger. It's become quite easy to tell if a building was built before or after 1990. (One time I was in a home on a military base that was built specifically to be wheelchair accessible, and the hallways felt huge. If I stand in a hallway and can't touch both walls, that feels larger than a home hallway to me.)

Personal experiences aside, it was a nice touch to the speech. Overtures to the other side are a good start.

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