Action DD has presented Representative Norm Johnson of Yakima an “appreciation award” for his support of people with developmental disabilities.

The advocacy group for people with developmental disabilities recently presented the award to Johnson at his Olympia office, which reads: “In recognition of your unwavering commitment to Washington citizens with developmental disabilities. You have shown true compassion for those who depend upon us the most.”

“Representative Johnson has shown a real heart for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Even when his position is unpopular he stands by his beliefs, and we know that he will defend the rights of people who cannot speak for themselves,” said Action DD President Paul Strand. “We at Action DD respect his support for a continuum of care, including the preservation of services at the Yakima Valley School.”

During the 2011 session, Johnson, along with his 14th District seatmates, Rep. Charles Ross and Sen. Curtis King, helped to negotiate an agreement to keep the Yakima Valley School in Selah open and serving current developmentally disabled residents throughout the remainder of their lives.

“I am humbled and honored to accept this award,” said Johnson. “I believe we have three primary responsibilities in state government: providing a quality education for our children, ensuring people remain safe in their communities, and protecting our most vulnerable citizens. That includes those who live with developmental disabilities. They have a right to a life of dignity and it is so important to give them a voice in their future.”

Presenting the award was Action DD Business Vice-President Maureen Durkan and Rick Jensen of the government consulting group, Jensen Walgren & Doty (see photo below).