A Delaware student appears to be making a career leap as a lobbyist, as evidenced by his successful efforts to make the Delaware State Fair friendlier to fair-goers with disabilities.
Jarrett Butler, a student at the John S. Charlton School in Camden, gathered local elected officials and show management to discuss how the event could be more accessible to those faced with mobility issues.
State Fair general manager Bill DiMondi, Rep. Lyndon Yearick, R-Camden and Butler first met in 2019 at the John S. Carlton School, which is designed for Kent County’s students with special needs, according to a news release from Friday Republican Committee of the House.
“This discussion sparked two concerns raised by Jarrett Butler,” DiMondi said. “You had to do with the need for the fair to have a special ADA shuttle transport. And the second was the need for ADA-compliant family toilets in an appropriate size – the trade fair did not have either at the time. “
The project would be difficult and expensive, but Butler persevered.
Additional meetings were held between Butler, Yearick, Sen. Dave Wilson, R-Cedar Creek Hundred, and state fair officials to clarify what was needed, how much it would cost, and how to secure funding.
“Jarrett was very careful with his requests,” said Yearick. “Like any good lobbyist or someone who takes an active part in something they believe in, they had a plan, they had ideas, they had suggestions, and they were very, very attentive to their recommendations. And I must emphasize that he did not do this to help himself, but to help other people he saw in need. Jarrett is a great example of how one person can make a positive difference. “
Yearick praised Majority Leader Valerie Longhurst, D-Delaware City, for helping secure government funding for the improvements.
In an email to the Chair of the Bond Bill Committee, Longhurst said the $ 110,000 grant would be an investment that would lead to more access to the Delaware State Fair and more visitors by people with disabilities.
The new ADA family toilet and shuttle were inaugurated at an event on Thursday.
Butler said his goal is to help people with developmental and physical disabilities enjoy the state fair as much as he does.
“The fair is very important to me,” said Butler. “Every time I come here, it’s like my second home.”
The toilet facility, north of the Kent Building, contains a plaque honoring Butler for “his tireless efforts to support exhibition guests with physical disabilities and reduced mobility.”
A duplicate was presented to Butler.
The new amenities were supposed to be officially inaugurated last year, but the occasion was delayed due to COVID-19 restrictions.
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