/ Modified oct 8, 2018 1:12 p.m.

Likely New Member Ushers in Accessibility at Arizona House

Jennifer Longdon's probable victory has prompted a list of improvements to increase building accessibility.

AZ Capitol Building The Arizona Capitol building.
AZPM Staff

PHOENIX — Prompted by the likelihood that it will be joined by a new member who uses a wheelchair, the Arizona House is changing its building to make it accessible.

The list of improvements approved by Speaker J.D. Mesnard includes adding automatic security doors and a portable ramp that would make the speaker's desk accessible, the Arizona Capitol Times reported this week.

Jennifer Longdon, the presumptive Democratic member from Legislative District 24, uses a wheelchair. She was paralyzed in 2004 after a random, drive-by shooting.

Longdon will presumably join the House in January. She and fellow Democrat Amish Shah still have the November general election to get through against Republican David Alger Sr. There are two open seats in the district.

Legislative District 24 historically has been a reliably Democratic district.

"This is an issue of making sure that every Arizonan can access their government," she said. "That's the people's house."

Mesnard said its certainly not an area where he has any expertise, but he could clearly see the House had to act.

"We're going to do what we need to do and do it as quickly as possible," he said, adding the goal is to have the changes completed before session begins in January.

There is not yet an estimate of how much the changes will cost as it is still early in the process.

Longdon said the speed with which the House addressed the changes has been gratifying.

"I don't think anyone is deliberately going out of their way to hurt the disability community," she said. "But I think that we're not as understood or considered, and this is an opportunity (to change that)."

By posting comments, you agree to our
AZPM encourages comments, but comments that contain profanity, unrelated information, threats, libel, defamatory statements, obscenities, pornography or that violate the law are not allowed. Comments that promote commercial products or services are not allowed. Comments in violation of this policy will be removed. Continued posting of comments that violate this policy will result in the commenter being banned from the site.

By submitting your comments, you hereby give AZPM the right to post your comments and potentially use them in any other form of media operated by this institution.
Arizona Public Media broadcast stations are licensed to the Arizona Board of Regents. Arizona Public Media and AZPM are registered trademarks of the Arizona Board of Regents.
The University of Arizona