The Northeast Independent Living Program Inc.’s (NILP) annual Legislative Forum was held at The Elks Lodge in Lawrence recently. This year’s theme was “Let Your Voice Be Heard.” Ninety-eight people attended, while state delegates, local officials and others had the opportunity to meet with constituents to discuss important health-care issues affecting the lives of local people with disabilities and their families. The NILP was also pleased to have an insightful discussion about the needs and interests of Merrimack Valley constituents who have disabilities. Given the competing demands for shrinking resources, NILP and officials are working together to develop innovative solutions that safeguard and expand programs that promote independence for people with disabilities in the Merrimack Valley. Guest speakers included: Mary Ann Nay, deputy director of intergovernmental relations at Sen. Bruce Tarr’s office; Mass. Independent Living Council Housing Coordinator Jordon Stocker; Marina Acosta from Sen. Barry Finegold’s office; and Merrimack College senior Nathan Persampier.

Here, NILP Executive Director, Matt Pellegrino (with mic) engages with NILP officials as well as state Rep. Francisco Paulino and Lawrence Mayor Brian DePena (at right). Courtesy photo