July 26th, 2010
02:37 PM ET
4 years ago

Quadriplegic to preside over House

Rhode Island Rep. Jim Langevin, who is a quadriplegic, will be the first person in a wheelchair to preside over the House of Representatives Monday.
Rhode Island Rep. Jim Langevin, who is a quadriplegic, will be the first person in a wheelchair to preside over the House of Representatives Monday.

Washington (CNN) - Rhode Island Rep. Jim Langevin, who is a quadriplegic, will be the first person in a wheelchair to preside over the House of Representatives Monday.

A series of lifts and platforms will allow the Democrat to get in the Speaker's chair position on the 20th anniversary of the Americans with Disability Act. The House will take up a resolution in honor of the anniversary later in the evening.

In addition to installing the lifts, the gavel has also been altered – a smaller version was fashioned with a hook and a Velcro attachment that can attach the gavel to Rep Langevin's hand.

The congressman was paralyzed as a teenager while on a Boy Scout Explorer program at a local police department when a gun accidently discharged. The congressman credits the community support he received following his injury for inspiring him to go into public service.


Filed under: House • Jim Langevin
soundoff (17 Responses)
  1. Randy

    Is anyone else wondering why there was a gun at the Boy Scout Explorer program? Wouldn't that be a good time for the police not to be handling weapons?

    July 26, 2010 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  2. Would Tim Mcveigh be a Tea Party hero today?

    Good luck,hope you make it,the real cripples are brain crippled republicans that want the U.S to fail.

    July 26, 2010 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  3. BobH

    Doesn't matter whether Dem, Rep or Ind, some things just make you proud to be an American.

    July 26, 2010 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  4. Kahuna

    I'm surprised the Republicans will let him preside over the session. I'm sure they're seething about it because Langevin "isn't a real American" in the Republican lexicon. After all, bullets bounce off real Americans.

    July 26, 2010 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  5. GI Joe

    The republicans want someone like this to be put before Virgnia Foxx's death panel, or left with no health care because of pre-existing conditions.

    Vote NO to the GObP of NO.

    July 26, 2010 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  6. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Glad Langevin was able to make history. Hopefully, democrats will be voted out of the Congress so that our country can recover.

    July 26, 2010 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  7. carlos

    can not wait for the people of the so called becks hatred network will have to say about this article......God bless, Rep. Langevin

    July 26, 2010 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  8. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    I do not know of this gentleman, but I wish him all the best. This has all the makings of a truly inspirational story. I also hope that based on his personal experience Rep. Langevin will have a more compassionate outlook towards those who are sick, and or disabled and that that view translates into good legislation towards same.

    Congratulations and good luck sir.

    July 26, 2010 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  9. Joe from CT, not Lieberman

    Here is the important part – he is a member of Congress being given the privilege of being the presiding officer. What astounds me is given how many wheelchair bound members of congress there have been, it has taken this long for one of them to get this honor. What is ironic is in the outside had someone wheelchair-bound not be given that honor (like a city board of aldermen or state legislature), they would have had the full force of the Americans with Disabilities Act behind them to force the accomodation. Because Congress specifically exempted themselves from many of these laws, they were never required to make the necessary modifications to the podium to support disabled members access to preside over the House or Senate. Bravo to the House for finally putting the 1991 law to work in their chambers!

    July 26, 2010 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  10. NYC REPUB

    I love being progressive........God bless you Rep. Langevin!!!

    July 26, 2010 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  11. XWngLady

    This is an example of what is truly great about America!!! Good on 'em.

    July 26, 2010 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  12. Mr. Moderate

    What an inspiring story. I wonder how long it will be before the Republicans give him the Max Cleland treatment.

    July 26, 2010 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  13. Shon P. Connors

    I think it is very inspirational to see that people with disabilities are being recognized for their accomplishments than rather our disabliities. I am very proud to be a part of that category and hope that many more of us can be a bigger part of society.

    July 26, 2010 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  14. Jamie from Riverside

    Wow! For the first time ever I am reading something going on in Congress that makes me proud.

    No partisan bickering, no screaming or name calling but instead an inspiriing story of courage and hope.

    July 26, 2010 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  15. jim

    Inspiration to all !!!! thank you for your service to the country,sir.

    July 26, 2010 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  16. Willy Brown

    Hey the democrats did something today with out screaming racism

    July 26, 2010 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  17. Keith in Austin

    Symbolic of a paralyzed House led by Queen Pelosi!

    July 26, 2010 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |