Sen. John Fettererman (D-Pa.) choked up while talking about struggles that people with disabilities face during a a Thursday hearing of the Senate Special Committee on Aging.
Fetterman held up his phone to let the room see the transcription app that helps him follow conversations and interact with staff, after a stroke last year damaged his ability to fully process language.
“Because I live in a political environment, I was ridiculed and made fun of,” Fetterman said, choking up as he spoke to the witnesses who testified at the hearing.
“I’m so sorry that I’m sure many of you had to go through this kind of thing,” Fetterman added. “I was lucky enough to go through my life, the vast majority of that, without this kind of disability that I have.”
Fetterman experienced a stroke in May 2022, which left him with an auditory processing disorder. At the hearing, titled “Unlocking the Virtual Front Door: Ensuring Accessible Government Technology for People with Disabilities, Older Adults, and Veterans,” he highlighted the scrutiny he has received for his new disability.
“I admire everyone that has to kind of live with these kind of struggles, and prevail over them,” Fetterman said.
Fetterman then asked how he and Senate colleagues can “become more empathetic, more responsive and more effective senators, to provide the kind of support and services” people in disabled communities in the U.S. “deserve.”
“I think it just takes political will and the will to become accessible,” Chris Westbrook, an accessibility engineer from Pennsylvania and one of the witnesses said. “It takes making it a priority. And just deciding it is going to be a priority.”
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Source: The Hill
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