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Norwalk Rep. Gail Lavielle Earns STAR Inc. Humanitarian Award

Katie Banzhaf, executive director of STAR, Inc. (left) presents the “Humanitarian of the Year” award to State Representative Gail Lavielle.
Katie Banzhaf, executive director of STAR, Inc. (left) presents the “Humanitarian of the Year” award to State Representative Gail Lavielle. Photo Credit: Contributed

NORWALK, Conn. – State Rep. Gail Lavielle (R-143) received the “Humanitarian of the Year” award from Norwalk's STAR Inc. for her commitment to Connecticut citizens with special needs and their families.

“I am honored and very moved to receive the Humanitarian Award from STAR, Inc., an organization that is beloved and respected in our communities, and a model for how an effective community nonprofit should operate,” said Lavielle. “There is no population that needs our help more than individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families, and I will continue to do everything I can to ensure that they are treated with the respect they deserve and that they are not deprived of necessary attention, funding and services.”

Lavielle, who represents Wilton, Norwalk, and Westport, received the award on Monday, Oct. 26, during STAR, Inc.’s annual membership meeting at its headquarters in Norwalk.

STAR is a not-for-profit organization that serves individuals of all ages with intellectual and developmental disabilities and provides support services to their families. The organization provides services in Darien, New Canaan, Norwalk, Weston, Westport and Wilton to more than 500 infants, children and adults who reside primarily in Fairfield County.

“It is my privilege to present the STAR Humanitarian Award to our friend, Representative Gail Lavielle, for her tireless commitment to citizens with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families,” said Katie Banzhaf, executive director of STAR, Inc.

During the 2015 legislative session, Lavielle actively supported the bipartisan I/DD Caucus’ agenda, which recognized that there is no one-size-fits-all solution that works for every individual. It charted a course toward improved and expanded community-based and residential services for those who thrive with increased independence, while maintaining the option of institutional care for those who don’t.

Lavielle also introduced and advocated for legislation modeled on the federal Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act. She was a co-sponsor of the bill ultimately signed into law that now allows persons with disabilities in Connecticut to create tax-free “ABLE” savings accounts to pay for disability-related expenses like education, health care, transportation, housing, employment training and support, and personal support services.

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