MDSC Advocacy Specialist John Anton is in Washington D.C. living out a lifelong dream, advocating for disability policy at the highest level of government. John is interning for Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington, a rising star in national politics. McMorris Rodgers is Chair of the House Republican Conference and co-chair of the Congressional Down Syndrome Caucus. Her 5-year-old son, Cole, has Down syndrome.
During his time in D.C, the MDSC will provide John with funding as our first Allen C. Crocker Self-Advocate Intern. Here in Massachusetts, John was a staunch advocate for one of our top pieces of legislation, the “Real Lives Bill,” which would improve disability policy in the state. Now, John’s incredible journey is emblematic of what “Real Life” with Down syndrome is all about. That’s why we’ve asked him to blog for us about his “Real Life” in the nation’s capital.
My Last Post.... Thanks for the Memories! >> Posted on Monday 7/15/2013 at 4:35 PM
HELLO PATIENT BLOGGERS. I’M BACK!
A LOT OF THINGS HAVE HAPPENED AFTER I RETURNED FROM WASHINGTON DC; SO, I WANT TO GIVE YOU AN UPDATE ON WHY I WAS NOT POSTING EVERY WEEK.
ON WORLD DOWN SYNDROME DAY, IN MARCH, I WAS INVITED BY NDSS TO BE PART OF A PANEL AT THE UNITED NATIONS. I TRAVELED TO NEW YORK CITY ON THE ACELA TRAIN WHERE SARA MET ME. I TRAVELED BACK ON THE SAME DAY WITH CHRIS BURKE AND JULIE FROM NDSS.
WE GOT BACK IN TIME TO ATTEND THE SHOWING OF MELANIE MCALUGHLIN’S GREAT FILM “MY GREAT STORY.” (See video below) IT WAS A LONG BUT GREAT DAY!
I MOVED INTO A NEW APARTMENT IN EARLY APRIL. IT HAS FIVE ROOMS AND I HAVE AN OFFICE. IT HAS A LOT OF WINDOWS AND IT IS VERY BRIGHT.
IT IS ON THE THIRD FLOOR AND IT IS PART OF L’ARCHE IRENICON CONMUNITY. I LOVE MY APARTMENT!
ON MARCH 23, THE MDSC CONFERENCE WAS HELD IN WORCESTER MA. I WAS PRESENTED WITH A GREAT HONOR. I RECEIVED THE ALLEN C. CROCKER AWARD OF EXCELLENCE. I WAS VERY PROUD TO BE CHOSEN. MY FRIEND, REPRESENTATIVE TOM SANNICANDRO, THE LEGISLATOR I WORK WITH IN BOSTON, ALSO RECEIVED AN AWARD THAT DAY. IT WAS GREAT BEING ON STAGE TOGETHER. (That's me and him below, along with Amy Masters, who won the Media Award for producing a great Chronicle show about Down syndrome).
I HAVE BEEN TRAVELING WITH L’ARCHE IRENICON TO TALK ABOUT INCLUSION AND MY EXPERIENCES. I FLEW TO CALIFORNIA BY MYSELF AND SPENT FOUR WONDERFUL DAYS AT RANCHO PALO VERDES FOR A RETREAT WITH PEOPLE FROM ALL OVER THE UNITED STATES.
I ALSO TRAVELED TO PENNSYLVANIA WITH L’ARCHE A GROUP GATHERING LAST WEEK. I LIKE MY NEW COMMUNITY.
I WOULD NEVER HAVE HAD A CHANCE TO GO TO DC WITHOUT THE SUPPORT OF MDSC AND NDSS. I AM GRATEFUL FOR ALL THE SUPPORT FROM EVERYONE WHO HELPED ME ALONG THE WAY.
I WILL CONTINUE TO WORK HARD FOR PEOPLE WITH DOWN SYNDROME, INTELLECTUAL AND DEVELOPMENTAL DISABILITIES ON LEGISLATIVE ISSUES.
I LEARNED A LOT IN DC AND WILL BE WORKING WITH MDSC AS A LEGISLATIVE SPECIALIST ON MANY ISSUES!
HERE ARE SOME MORE PHOTOS FROM MY TIME IN DC BELOW. THE TOP ONE IS ME WITH MY FRIEND BRIAN JENKINS WHO USED TO WORK IN REP SANNICANDROS OFFICE. AND THE SECOND IS FROM A MEETING I, AND SOME OF MY COLLEAGUES HAD WITH SEN. WARREN.
My Buddy Walk on Washington >> Posted on Friday 3/15/2013 at 1:30 PM
It has been a great Buddy Walk on Washington. I have been in DC. for 6 weeks now, but my friends and colleagues from Massachusetts just joined me. We have been working real hard meeting with the Mass. delegation to push for the ABLE Act and funding for Down syndrome research.
We met MDSC founder Mark Granger (middle photo) just by chance. We also met with Sen. Elizabeth Warren (top photo)
So much to report in D.C. >> Posted on Saturday 3/9/2013 at 1:25 PM
After working hard all week and weekend, I needed something to relax. Ben introduced me to the Wii! I had a blast bowling and boxing with him!?
I had a very fun weekend in DC. I'm learning that the cool thing to do in DC is "brunch"! On Saturday, I brunched with my Aunt Barbara and Uncle Frank! They were visiting from Upstate New York.
On Sunday, Ben and Sara took me to Christ Church in Old Town Alexandria. This is the church George Washington use to go to! Then, we went to brunch with one of Sara's friends, Chris, who works at the US Department of Education.
Ready for the Real Thing >> Posted on Tuesday 2/26/2013 at 9:50 PM
Look at me! I'm in the Oval Office and behind the President's Desk. Okay, it's not real. They have this pretend stuff in the White House Gift Shop, but I am definitely ready for the real thing now. Also, when I was in the gift shop, i picked up a Obama t-shirt and some presidential pens, just like the president himself uses.
Long Weekend, Short Hair >> Posted on Monday 2/18/2013 at 11:15 PM
Today (Monday) was President's Day, so I had the day off. I did my grocery shopping and got my haircut (see below)! On Sunday, my friend Brian took me to see the museums and the White House. On Saturday, Ben, Sara, and I went to see the movie Lincoln.
I'm in the Cincinnati Newspaper Story >> Posted on Friday 2/15/2013 at 1:30 PM
Yesterday, they talked about me in a story in the Cincinnati newspaper about my new friend, Ted Kremer. Ted was Speaker John Boehner's special guest at the President's State of the Union address. This is what it said: "The group included John Anton, a 47-year-old Statehouse worker from Boston who was spending a month working in the D.C. office of House representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Washington). Anton spoke eloquently of his support for a legislative bill called ABLE (Achieving a Better Life Experience)."
Michele Bachmann Gave Me Her Word >> Posted on Tuesday 2/12/2013 at 11:25 AM
I also learned last night that sometimes in DC you never know who you might meet… Congresswoman and former Presidential Candidate Michele Bachmann was dining at the same restaurant and came over and sat our table. I didn’t let her leave without ensuring she would be a cosponsor on the ABLE Act. She told me to sign her up! There's Michele in the middle with me and Teddy Kremer.
A Batboy, State of the Union Guest and New Friend >> Posted on Tuesday 2/12/2013 at 11:20 AM
Tonight, I helped the National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS) host Ted Kremer and his family in Washington, DC. Teddy will attend as the guest of House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio at the State of the Union Address tonight. Teddy is a young man with Down syndrome who just turned 30 from Cincinnati, Ohio and was the batboy for the Cincinnati Reds. I made sure that Ted was well briefed on the ABLE Act, which will be reintroduced on Wednesday (tomorrow) for when he meets personally with Speaker Boehner! Here’s some information on my new friend. Ted: http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/02/06/reds-batboy-to-attend-state-of-the-union/1897681/Below is me with Ted and my host Sara Weir of NDSS.
My First Week on Capitol Hill >> Posted on Sunday 2/10/2013 at 6:55 AM
I just finished my first work week in Washington D.C. and it was everything I dreamed it would be. On Friday, Sara Weir and I met with the lobbyist for Special Olympics to discuss the ABLE Act and opportunities for collaboration.
Stay Warm Boston >> Posted on Saturday 2/9/2013 at 4:35 PM
I know you have a lot of snow in Boston. It was 42 and sunny in DC today. Last night, after I finished my work week, my friends Sara Weir of NDSS and Ben went for pizza in Old Town Alexandria. Don't we look cozy? I hope you are too!
Hard at Work, Already! >> Posted on Thursday 2/7/2013 at 2:05 PM
It has been crazy here and also i have been working hard doing data entry and tomorrow i will be getting cosponsors for the down Syndrome caucus and meetings. i will try hard to get some pictures. Also, I will meet with L'arche USA community to talk about the ABLE Act and get them involved in the Buddy Walk.?
Below is a picture of me of at a the State House in Boston on my last day of work up there a couple weeks ago. It's an old picture, but a nice one, I think.
Making New Friends Already >> Posted on Tuesday 2/5/2013 at 10:55 AM
Here I am, my first day working on Capitol Hill with my new colleagues. It's Legislative Assistant Karen Summar and Legislative Correspondent Kyle Kunkler. Like me, they work for Congresswoman McMorris Rodgers. ?
A Bite Out of the Big Apple >> Posted on Friday 2/1/2013 at 10:05 AM
I had a great time at the NDSS gala last night in New York City. I had the honor of giving the closing remarks. I encouraged everyone to join me in DC for the Buddy Walk on Washington! After the gala, I got to see Times Square for the first time!