A state lawmaker gained frontline experience recently with personal care and transport assistance as a direct support professional for people with disabilities.
The legislator is Rep. Joe Schomacker-R, Luverne. The setting was Rock County Opportunities, a small southwest Minnesota hometown nonprofit in the 30-minute shadow of booming Sioux Falls, S.D. It serves 45 people with disabilities on weekdays.
Rep. Schomacker has been an advocate for RCO and similar service providers at the State Capitol.
“At some point it’s kind of a ‘put up or shut up issue,’” he said. “How do you advocate effectively if you can’t take some time to see what they actually experience at the end of the day?”
The idea stemmed from a November 2019 experience with Governor Tim Walz, who served as a personal care attendant for a day with a residential provider.