FREMONT – State Senator Lynne Walz of Fremont was honored by ARC of Nebraska as she was named the Harold Sieck Public Official of the Year recipient.
The award is given by ARC for outstanding support of citizens with developmental disabilities. This year Senator Walz has introduced four bills and/or resolutions that would impact citizens with disabilities.
LB800 would change the provisions to the state Olmstead plan, which is required by federal law and is aimed at moving services to a community setting rather than an institutional setting.
LB864 would reimburse providers for services that were never fully paid. This has had a direct impact on services provided to people who need them most.
LB1093 would create an Inspector General of Public Health. This person would oversee all state-licensed care facilities.
And LR296 would create a legislative investigative committee to examine the state of our licensed care facilities.
Senator Walz was also a leader in fighting to restore disabilities services that were cut by gubernatorial vetoes last year in the state’s budget. The award was announced at the annual Senatorial Dinner where state senators gathered with members of ARC from across the state. Senator Walz says she’s honored to receive the award and that it means a lot to her.
“The ARC is an organization made up of parents who have been fighting for the rights of their children for many years,” said Senator Walz. “So to be a part of this celebration tonight was just truly a very special thing for me.”
After receiving the award at the dinner, Senator Walz gave a brief speech.
“This is truly an honor. When I was 18, I started working at ENCOR and moved in with and cared for three ladies with disabilities. That wasn’t just a job, they became my family. And I learned to fight for people who aren’t like me,” said Senator Walz. “I was talking to three young mons this evening. They want what every parent wants, equal opportunities for their children. We’ve made a lot of progress over the years, but there is still a lot more to do. This is my opportunity to fight for you, and I won’t stop until we get there.”
The ARC of Nebraska offers a wide range of programs and services to meet the needs of those with intellectual and developmental disabilities. They help individuals and families by providing programs, information, and resources to assist in their daily lives. They also raise awareness and advocate on behalf of individuals for voting rights, employment opportunities, special education, and health care services for people with disabilities.