By Christina Wilkie - 07/26/10 10:35 PM EDT
The House on Monday commemorated the 20th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) by passing the Speaker’s gavel to Rep. Jim Langevin (D-R.I.), who is paralyzed from the chest down.
Langevin, who uses a motorized wheelchair, accessed the Speaker’s podium by way of a newly installed mechanical lift system, the first time ever that the podium has been wheelchair accessible.
Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) lauded Langevin on the House floor Monday, saying, “No one understands better than Jim the need to commit ourselves to the cause of inclusion, and no one has been a more steadfast advocate for disability rights. It is fitting that he is breaking new ground today.
“What a powerful symbol of inclusion and opportunity [this is] for anyone who wants to serve in the United States Congress,” Langevin told the Associated Press.