The Georgia Inclusive Post-Secondary Education Consortium (GAIPSEC) awarded Georgia State Representative Katie Dempsey today with the 2020 Legislative Leadership Award for her leadership with the organization advocating for people with intellectual/developmental disabilities. Representative Dempsey, who is the second honoree to receive the Legislative Leadership Award from the Consortium, accepted the award this morning at the Georgia State Capital and is being recognized because of her work in the disability community, fighting for access to waivers, healthcare, education, and employment. Representative Dempsey shared today that she is honored and is looking forward to continuing her work with the organization in the future.

“This is such a sweet honor today and especially because it reflects back to March of 2020 when Georgia and everyone faced such a unique challenge that we have pushed on and persevered through. I think particularly for our post inclusive students, this is timely to draw attention to it right now to the work, not only that the organization has done and the agencies throughout our state, but for those individual families and students,” said Representative Dempsey. “I am a big cheerleader and I look forward to this next year when we are even healthier and stronger and doing more. I feel very encouraged to continue this work and I feel it is a great opportunity to help educate others.”

Susanna Miller-Raines, UCEDD Operations Coordinator for the Center for Leadership in Disability (CLD) said that Representative Dempsey has been a champion for quite some time with the organization and they appreciate how much Representative Dempsey has supported them. Raines also shared that GAIPSEC has been honoring individuals since 2013 to those individuals who have demonstrated exceptional service and advocacy focused on helping the disability community.

“We wanted to show Representative Dempsey how much we appreciated her. In 2020, we decided to give her the Legislative Leadership Award from the Consortium and we really have appreciated our long relationship with the legislature. We are really thankful to have her leading the charge and being such a leader at the State Capital and to have her ear and her support and her willingness to do what we need to help students with intellectual developmental disabilities in college,” said Raines.

“Rep. Dempsey lends her time, expertise, and the power of her position to elevate the voices of IPSE families and participating universities. She has also made space on the agenda during House Health and Human Services Committee meetings to hear directly from advocates in support of IPSE,” said Starr Bruner, Transition Director for the Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities. “Not only does she welcome and encourage such public input, but she makes sure the committee hears from every person who wants to be heard. GAIPSEC has also been able to count on Rep. Dempsey as a reliable source to inform her legislative colleagues about the many benefits of IPSE, and has often asked us how she can help advance our cause.”

Representative Dempsey, who oversees District 13 in the state of Georgia, serves on several committees for the Georgia House of Representatives, including the Health and Human Services Committee, Higher Education Committee, and Appropriations Committee, where she serves as the Chairman of the Human Resources Subcommittee.

The GAIPSEC is a project of the Center for Leadership in Disability (CLD). The CLD operates as a program within the School of Public Health at Georgia State University and is a University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities Education, Research, and service (UCEDD) and manages a Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities (LEND) program. The Consortium is funded by the United States Department of Education, Office of Postsecondary Education grant.

For more information, visit www.gaipsec.org.