February 20, 2018 | USA Today Network NorthJersey.com online
More than 35 years ago, I drove then-Assemblyman Rodney Frelinghuysen to a New Jersey state institution warehousing people with disabilities. He was new to government and wanted to learn about disability services. At the Vineland State School, he was shocked to see a woman, naked, tied up in 5-point restraints, and screaming. He asked how this could be.
I was 27 and angry and so raised my voice to him explaining that this was his fault. I explained that the government was not doing enough to help place people from congregate institutions into proper community homes. He got it. As a member of Congress from New Jersey, Frelinghuysen was always a quick study and always grasped the most complex issues with ease.
During the last three decades, Frelinghuysen has been a true friend to people with disabilities. He helped fund entrepreneurial businesses in New Jersey to employ persons with disabilities. He is someone who really changed the lives of Americans and made the country better.
When he leaves office, we will have lost a true advocate for persons with disabilities. Frelinghuysen is a veteran, a leader, a patriot and an ethical politician who believed in what was right and moral. Congressman Frelinghuysen will be missed.
Princeton, Feb. 14
The writer is the president and CEO of Community Options, a national non-profit developing housing and jobs for persons with disabilities.