FRAMINGHAM – Diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis as a child, Karen Foran uses a motorized scooter to get around Framingham.
In 2002, she co-founded the Framingham Disability Commission, to advocate for rights for those disabled like herself. She has served as chair of the Commission and is currently the vice chair. She recently applied for a 3-year re-appointment.
Today, after 18 years on the Commission, the Spicer administration told Karen Foran Dempsey, “we have decided to move forward with another candidate but would like to thank you for your service to the community.”
Mayor Yvonne Spicer plans to nominate someone other than Dempsey to the 7-member Commission. Dempsey, the mother of twin boys, has served on the Commission for 18 years.
Over the years, Dempsey advocated for ramps that give wheelchair users improved access to the Memorial Building and to the main Framingham Library on Lexington Street. She pushed for the new bookmobile to have a wheelchair lift. She fought for years, and won, to have Historic Village Hall become accessible to all, including herself.
Dempsey also advocated for adaptive skating and dance programs in the Parks & Recreation Department, and for accessible swimming chairs for the city’s beaches.
The Mayor’s office has submitted the three names of her nominees to the City Council, but has not made them public. The City Council will have 30 days to approve or reject the nominees.
The Commission works with City Officials, in particular, the ADA Coordinator and the Access Compliance Inspector, to promote the inclusion of people with disabilities in all aspects of community life. The City’s ADA Coordinator is Chief Operating Officer Thatcher Kezer III.
A majority of the members shall consist of people with disabilities. One may be a member of the immediate family of a person with a disability. One member shall be either an elected or appointed official of the City.
This month is the 30th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act.