President Bush 41 remembered in Austin for leadership on ADA

A makeshift memorial sits at the base of a statue of former President George H.W. Bush in downtown Houston, Sunday, Dec. 2, 2018. Bush is returning to Washington as a revered political statesman, hailed by leaders across the political spectrum and around the world as a man not only of greatness but also of uncommon decency and kindness. Bush, died late Friday at his Houston home at age 94, is to be honored with a state funeral at National Cathedral in the nation's capital on Wednesday, followed by burial Thursday on the grounds of his presidential library at Texas A&M.(AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

President George H.W. Bush is being remembered in Austin for literally opening doors for people with disabilities. In 1990, President bush signed the Americans with Disabilities Act. Even while his own party was calling for cutting government regulations, President Bush pushed for a wide-ranging law to help Americans with all kinds of disabilities.

Without the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, Karla Martinez wouldn't be running her own business today. She operates a cafeteria in the state's Brown Heatly building. "I absolutely appreciate the ADA,” she says, “Because it gives us as blind individuals or disabled individuals an opportunity to be successful."

Martinez says the ADA gave her the rights and the Texas Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services-- or DARS-- gave her the tools. “DARS provided us with all the technology to manage our businesses and take care of the business,” she says, “The opportunity that they give us."

President Bush called the ADA a declaration of equality for people with disabilities. It also ensured access to public buildings.

Austinite Archer Hadley knows a little about that. He organizes regular challenges to call attention to the issue.

The ADA also ensured access to transportation services. Today here in Austin every Capital Metro bus is accessible to wheelchair users and people with other disabilities.

And-- in a time before texting-- the ADA ensured equivalent telephone services for people with speech and hearing disabilities. All because of some forward-thinking leadership from President Bush.

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