Pelosi Remarks at Press Availability with Special Olympics Athletes and Best Buddies

Jan 27, 2010, 13:52 ET from Office of the Speaker of the House

WASHINGTON, Jan. 27 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Speaker Nancy Pelosi held a brief press availability this morning with Timothy Shriver, Chairman & CEO of Special Olympics International, Anthony Shriver, Founder & Chairman of Best Buddies International, Olympic Gold Medalist Carl Lewis, musician Joe Jonas, Special Olympics athletes and Best Buddies. Founded by Eunice Kennedy Shriver, the Special Olympics is an international organization and competition for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Best Buddies is a non-profit organization dedicated to creating opportunities for friendships, integrated employment, and leadership development for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Below are the Speaker's opening remarks and closing statement.

Speaker Pelosi Opening Remarks:

"Good morning. I would like to offer my personal and official thanks on behalf of the Members of Congress to Tim and Anthony Shriver for bringing us together today, the Best Buddies and Special Olympics. They come here to pay tribute to their wonderful mother, Eunice Kennedy Shriver, and the tremendous leadership that she provided. With generosity of spirit, taking her own, one sort of a sadness in her life, and making it a source of joy to so many people by opening avenues for them. Mrs. Shriver, as we all know, believed that people should be respected for what they can do rather than judged by what they cannot. Her ideas, her thinking—this is a woman who was so ahead of her time—has been a blessing to our country.

"We are also excited that Joe Jonas and Carl Lewis are with us. We are honored by their presence and when my colleagues and their children find out what is going on they are going to wonder why they aren't here as well. [Laughter.]

"We want them to team up with Best Buddies and Special Olympics. We have new legislation coming this year that combines to the authorization—adds a little more. The Eunice Kennedy Shriver Act of 2010 will even do more to widen possibilities.

"Among the people who are with us today who we are very, very proud of is Lindsay Mibach, a Special Olympics athlete who participates in basketball, softball, bowling, floor hockey, golf, and bocce ball. [Laughter.] As an Italian American, I especially like the bocce ball. It is an honor that you are here, Lindsay. Thank you for being with us and please tell us what you came to say."

Speaker Pelosi Closing Statement:

"We're talking about wonderful things here today — seeing the benefit to our country that the leadership of Eunice Kennedy Shriver has provided. And it goes very deeply into other areas as well, as you will observe, the 20th anniversary of the ADA. And this is something that Eunice advocated for. Eunice Shriver took the lead on and, again, literally opened doors to remove obstacles of participation for people, but clearly more needs to be done — whether in terms of employment or access to health care. And I can't think of any more eloquent voices than those we've heard today with Lindsay and David but also that of Joe Jonas and Carl Lewis, who will add their celebrity to this important initiative to attract other people to what is going on here.

"And just think of it: today the Special Olympics reaches 3.2 million athletes on the playing fields of 170 countries. Isn't that remarkable? An idea of one woman and then amplified through her beautiful family, and then those who are affected by it taking the lead themselves.

"Best Buddies is the world's largest non-profit organization devoted solely to providing opportunities for one-on-one friendships and integrated employment for people with intellectual disabilities. It's just remarkable how they translated compassion and an idea into success of this level and it's to be measured not just by numbers of people, but the progress made by individuals in their lives. So we thank you for picking up the gauntlet and adding your voice, which is, again, unmatched — there's no one that could speak from experience that you have so beautifully and we're honored by your presence.

"And thank you Joe Jonas and Carl Lewis for joining us and as always, the Shriver family. Before you came in, I was telling them that at home in San Francisco or here in Washington, any room you go into you see evidence of Best Buddies or Special Olympics because I've been to so many silent auctions at the Shriver home. [Laughter.] They opened their home to all of this, so it gives the rest of us the chance to do our small share personally. But most important is what we can do in a manner of public policy and that is our responsibility. So we look forward to passing the Eunice Kennedy Shriver Act of 2010.

"Thank you."

SOURCE Office of the Speaker of the House