Legislators Attend Dinner To Raise Funds and Promote Autism Awareness

From left: Assemblyman Adam Taliaferro, Resources for Independent Living Executive Director Lisa Killion-Smit, Senate President Steve Sweeney, Deputy Assembly Speaker John J. Burzichelli.

WEST DEPTFORD, N.J. — Senate President Steve Sweeney, Deputy Assembly Speaker John J. Burzichelli, and Assemblyman Adam Taliaferro attended an annual dinner to raise money for Resources for Independent Living (RIL) and promote Autism awareness recently.

Prior to the dinner, the three district legislators presented Debbie Behnke with a Ceremonial Resolution recognizing her contributions to RIL and the larger Salem County community.

“My initial motivation for getting involved in politics was to improve the services available for the physically and developmentally disabled people of New Jersey,” Sweeney said. “It is no small task, it requires public and private partnerships, the efforts of generous individuals like those honored here and the work of outstanding non-profits like RIL. When all of those forces come together, we are able to offer our state’s most vulnerable citizens the best lives possible.”

From left: Senator Steve Oroho, Deputy Assembly Speaker John J. Burzichelli, Honoree Debbie Behnke, Assemblyman Adam Taliaferro, Senate President Steve Sweeney

RIL is a community based member organization whose purpose is to serve people with disabilities. Their core services are independent living skills training, peer support, and advocacy. Membership is open to all people with disabilities, their able-bodied friends, and supporters. They promote personal growth and empowerment through choice, self-determination, and participation in programs providing information, education, skills development, and networking opportunities.

“There are countless passionate individuals all over New Jersey who dedicate their time and energy to helping our state’s disabled populations,” Burzichelli said. “It is always wonderful to have the opportunity to support their efforts and recognize them for all that they do.”

 Assemblyman Taliaferro recognized the hard work of those assisting people with disabilities.

“Everyone deserves a fulfilling, independent life, regardless of who they are,” Taliaferro said. “It was a privilege to honor people who dedicate themselves to helping those with disabilities achieve just that. They work hard every day to make sure good people can live the best life possible.”