Legislator of the Year
Assemblyman Gary S. Schaer
Longtime Friend to ABCD
Assemblyman Gary Schaer has been a friend to ABCD since his arrival in the NJ Assembly in 2006. From the start he worked with ABCD to ensure affordable and accessible housing and prevent Medicaid co-pays. As a member and later as Chairman of the powerful Assembly Budget Committee, not only did he help amend the budgets to support people with developmental disabilities, but he was also one of the first and few legislators to understand that NJ was not receiving federal Medicaid funds for Family Support. His early and unabated advocacy with legislative colleagues and numerous administrations, led to the transformation of our service system into the present-day person-centered Supports Program which serves tens of thousands of individuals with developmental disabilities in the community.
The Assemblyman’s support remains unfaltering and true. Within the last year alone, he was instrumental in magically revitalized members of the EIPA to continue their decade-long advocacy slog for an increased rate, resulting in a 7.5% increase. True to his wise and deliberative nature, as Policy Chair and Deputy Speaker, held to his (what seemed like) minority position to prevent the camera bill from progressing in the Assembly for a full vote unless and until it addressed the fundamental issues voiced by ABCD.
We are deeply pleased to celebrate this soft-spoken, undaunted, man of integrity.