Fort Atkinson- Representative Don Vruwink (D-Milton), a candidate for the 33rd Assembly Seat, visited Opportunities, Inc. in Fort Atkinson on Thursday afternoon. Vruwink spent time learning about the mission of Opportunities, Inc., toured the facility, and then met with A-Team Wisconsin.
Representative Vruwink stated, “As a retired educator, I understand and believe in the importance of Opportunities, Incorporated’s mission of supporting individuals to help maximize their success and enhance their abilities. I asked for a tour of Opportunities because it is part of the District I hope to represent, and I wanted to learn how I could help support them.”
Opportunities, Inc. CEO Barb LeDuc stated that they work with people of “diversabilities,” engaging about 250-300 youth and adults with diverse abilities in competitive employment annually. They provide mission-centered services with an operating budget less than 25% government funded. Vruwink wanted to explore ideas of how legislators in the state of Wisconsin can support and expand the services provided through Opportunities, Inc. After the tour of the facilities, Vruwink spent time speaking with A-Team’s Government Affairs Director, Joel Kleefisch, as well as Rick Wilson (Family Leader) and Chris Wilson (Self-advocate) to discuss the best way to advocate for individual and family choice.
Vruwink observed that the people of Opportunities want to work and want to give back to the community, and that it benefits all Wisconsinites to support and encourage the disability population into the workforce. LeDuc asked the Representative to please advocate for choice for all and to listen to families.
Vruwink told the leadership team, “ I am a lifelong learner, and I learned a lot today. Hearing from Opportunities, Inc.’s leadership team, meeting some of the great people who receive services through the program, and touring the facility in action helped me to truly understand how important it is to advocate for individuals and families being served by this organization. I plan to bring my colleagues from both sides of the aisle to visit the facility, because disability is a non-partisan issue that affects all of us in one way or another.”
Vruwink explained that he is “here for the people, not the politics.” He believes in working across the aisle to do everything he can to represent and advocate for what is right for the people of his district.
Barb LeDuc asked that Representative Vruwink help to make policies friendly, allowing for family choice, and stated, “we need more political people like you representing us.”
Representative Vruwink is no stranger to working with organizations like Opportunities, Inc. In May of 2022, Vruwink was the first legislator to receive A-Team’s “Champion for Choice” award, in recognition of his advocacy in support of Kandu Industries, which is part of his current (43rd) Assembly District in Janesville.