The MENTOR Network

The Honorable Robert A. DeLeo Speaker of the Massachusetts House of Representatives

Robert A. DeLeo was elected to the Massachusetts House of Representatives in 1990, and is currently serving his sixth term as Speaker of the House. Since his first months in office fighting to protect funding for special education, Speaker DeLeo has proven himself to be a formidable voice and effective adovcate on behalf of adults and children with disabilities throughout the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

Speaker DeLeo has consistently prioritized funding for disability services and has sheparded the passage of bills eliminating the “r” word from state lawbooks, enabling people with disabilities to create their own service plans, and ending private insurance companies’ discrimination against individuals of all ages diagnosed with an autism disorder.

Speaker DeLeo played a leading role in the successful passage of the Autism Omibus bill requiring the state’s health insurance program for low-income families to cover medically necessary treatment for children with autism. The landmark law also expanded Department of Developmental Services eligibilty criteria to include adults with autism, prader-willi and smith-magenis syndrome; and it established tax-free savings accounts (called “Achieving a Better Life Experience,” or ABLE) to help families cover anticipated disability-related expenses.

This year, Speaker DeLeo introduced a child health and wellness bill that would help children aging out of foster care obtain health insurance, and establish a pilot program with regional centers of excellence in children’s behavioral health.

“It’s an installment in what’s going to be a session-long discussion about how we ensure that we properly care for the physical and mental well-being of all of our children,” DeLeo said. An award-winning legislator, Speaker DeLeo is guided by his desire to empower individuals, families and communities. Under his leadership, the House of Representatives passed nation-leading legislation relating to early education and care, fighting the opioid crisis, economic development, gun safety, veteran’s benefits, criminal justice reform, clean energy, and protecting civil rights for all.

Speaker DeLeo is a recipient of the Citizens for Juvenile Justice Youth Justice Champion Award, Caring Force Legislative Champion Award, Vision Impairment and Blindness Distinguished Leadership FOCUS Award, Health and Home Care Association of Massachusetts Legislator of the Year Award, Public Servant of the Year Award, Outstanding Legislator Award and MassEquality’s Political Icon Award.