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Disability Rights Iowa to stage town hall event in Sioux City

By: - December 7, 2021 2:20 pm

The new executive director of Disability Rights Iowa says one of the challenges she faces in her job is that relatively few Iowans see themselves as disabled. (Photo courtesy of Disability Rights Iowa)

Disability Rights Iowa is staging a town hall in Sioux City on Wednesday for residents to meet the agency’s new executive director.

DRI’s executive director, Catherine E. Johnson, will meet with members of the disability community and hear from them as to the issues they face in the Sioux City area. The town hall will also include two hours of presentations on issues of concern to the disability community.

There will be American Sign Language assistance provided, as well as communication access real-time translation (CART).

The town hall will be held at the Sioux City Public Museum at 607 4th St. A meet-and-greet gathering with Johnson will take place at noon, followed at 1 p.m. by presentations on education, guardianship and conservatorship, Social Security overpayments, and working with Social Security disability benefits. The event will conclude with a one-hour question-and-answer period scheduled for 3 p.m.

Along with DRI, the event is sponsored by the Disabilities Resource Center of Siouxland and the Sioux City Human Rights Commission.

Earlier this year, Johnson replaced Jane Hudson as the head of DRI, which is a federally funded, privately run organization that’s dedicated to helping Iowans with disabilities.

Johnson received her undergraduate and law degrees from the University of Iowa. She has worked as the assistant dean of students for the St. Louis University School of Law, served as the director of Student Legal Services at University of Iowa, and worked as a disability rights attorney at the Disability Rights Center of Kansas.

Before being named the executive director of DRI, she was the director of the ADA Resource Center for Equity and Accessibility at the University of Kansas.

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Clark Kauffman
Clark Kauffman

Deputy Editor Clark Kauffman has worked during the past 30 years as both an investigative reporter and editorial writer at two of Iowa’s largest newspapers, the Des Moines Register and the Quad-City Times. He has won numerous state and national awards for reporting and editorial writing. His 2004 series on prosecutorial misconduct in Iowa was named a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Investigative Reporting. From October 2018 through November 2019, Kauffman was an assistant ombudsman for the Iowa Office of Ombudsman, an agency that investigates citizens’ complaints of wrongdoing within state and local government agencies.

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