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Independent Living News & Policy from the National Council on Independent Living

Updates on Key Disability Positions in the Second Obama Administration

Nothing About Us Without Us 2012 signThe second Obama Administration is underway and NCIL is closely following several positions that work to address disability issues daily. This article explores the progress on some of those positions.

Department of Education

Michael Yudin remains Acting Assistant Secretary of the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services and has been nominated to assume the job permanently.

Janet L. LaBreck was nominated by President Obama to be Commissioner of Rehabilitation Services Administration in the Department of Education. She currently serves as the Commissioner of the Massachusetts Commission for the Blind (MCB), a position she has held since 2007. 

Ms. LaBreck joined the MCB in 1985 as Consumer Advocate. She has served in a number of positions at the MCB since then, including Independent Living Coordinator, Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor, and Regional Director of Central Massachusetts. Since 2005, she has worked as an Adjunct Professor at Assumption College, where she teaches courses in rehabilitation of the blind and case management in rehabilitation. She was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from the New England College of Optometry. She received a B.A. from the University of Massachusetts and an M.Ed. from Springfield College (source: The White House).

National Council on Disability

At the National Council on Disability, Jonathan Young has stepped down as Chair. The newly appointed Chair is Jeff Rosen. Three new members have been appointed to NCD and are awaiting Senate confirmation: Captain Jonathan F. Kuniholm, USMC (Retired); Lynnae Ruttledge; and Alice Wong. NCD’s former Executive Director, Aaron Bishop, has taken a position with the Administration on Community Living (ACL). The NCD Executive Director position remains open and they are currently accepting applications.

Administration for Community Living

Henry Claypool has left the Administration for Community Living and is now serving as Vice President of Government Affairs at AAPD.

The White House

Kareem Dale, Former Special Assistant to the President for Disability Policy, has left the White House.

Department of Justice

The US Department of Justice has appointed Rebecca Bond to be the new Chief of the Disability Rights Section (DRS). Bond has a BA from Yale and a Harvard Law Degree. Recently, she served as Deputy Chief of the Housing Section in Civil Rights.

Department of Housing and Urban Development

At the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Estelle Richman retired as Senior Advisor to the Secretary. Jennifer Ho from US Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH) was chosen as her replacement!

Department of Transportation

US Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood has announced that he is leaving by the end of the year or at the time Congress confirms a replacement for his position.

Department of Labor

Hilda Solis has resigned as Secretary of the US Department of Labor and Seth Harris is currently serving as the Acting Secretary. The media is currently speculating that Tom Perez, who is currently the Assistant Attorney General at Department of Justice’s Office of Civil Rights, will be appointed Secretary of the Department of Labor.

NCIL policy staff will continue to monitor the progress of filling key disability rights positions in the Administration. For more information, contact Dara Baldwin, NCIL Policy Analyst, at

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