Federal Fly-In brings county board of DD leaders, advocacy to Capitol Hill

By Erich Hiner, OACB
Published Wednesday, October 2, 2019 9:00 am

From left: OACB Executive Director Bridget Gargan, Mahoning DD Superintendent Bill Whitacre, Erie DD Superintendent Carrie Beier, Wood DD Superintendent Brent Baer, Guernsey DD Board President Melinda Yerian, and Guernsey/Muskingum DD Superintendent Kellie Brown. (Click to enlarge)

On September 25-26, five county board of DD leaders and two OACB staffers met with members of Ohio's federal congressional delegation to discuss board policy priorities ahead of the 2020 general election.

Joined by advocates from Ohio Developmental Disabilities Council and the Ohio Statewide Independent Living Center (OSILC), four county board superintendents and one board member attended meetings with the offices of 12 members of the House of Representatives (collectively representing 73 of Ohio's 88 counties) and both senators from the State of Ohio.

OACB's advocacy team included Carrie Beier, Superintendent (Erie DD) and OACB Trustee; Melinda Yerian, Board Secretary (Guernsey DD) and OACB Trustee; Kellie Brown, Superintendent (Guernsey/Muskingum DD) and DD Council Member; Bill Whitacre, Superintendent (Mahoning DD); Brent Baer, Superintendent (Wood DD); OACB Executive Director Bridget Gargan; and OACB Government Relations Director Erich Bittner.

Advocates discussed federal Medicaid funding, disability benefits, county board of DD supports, and other issues in their meetings with legislators and staff. In all, seven members of Congress and one of Ohio's senators met directly with OACB's advocacy team. To see photos from the meetings, visit OACB's Facebook page.

OACB's participation in the Federal Fly-In was made possible thanks to the work and coordination of DD Council staff, which arranged group meetings with congressional offices and set up pre-visit prep sessions the day before the meetings took place.

The association would also like to thank the lawmakers who made time to meet with DD advocates in person. These included U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown and U.S. Representatives Troy Balderson, Steve Chabot, Bob Gibbs, Anthony Gonzalez, Bill Johnson, Jim Jordan, and Steve Stivers. The remaining offices were represented by legislative staff.

OACB is considering additional Federal Fly-Ins in the future. If you are a county board of DD employee or board member would like to be considered for our next federal advocacy day, click here to submit your interest. 


Photo Gallery
(Click each image to enlarge)


U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown

U.S. Rep. Steve Chabot

U.S. Rep. Bob Gibbs

U.S. Rep. Anthony Gonzalez

U.S. Rep. Bill Johnson

U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan


U.S. Rep. Steve Stivers 


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