Providing information, education, and training to build knowledge, develop skills, and change attitudes that will lead to increased independence, productivity, self determination, integration and inclusion (IPSII) for people with developmental disabilities and their families.
Minnesota Governor's Council on Developmental Disabilities and Chair Shamus O'Meara Cited On Council's 35th Anniversary

Council honors Governor Wendell Anderson, who created it in 1971 during his term, and Melvin and Dorothy Heckt, parents who made major contributions to improving the lives of people with developmental disabilities.

O'Meara and Badgerow
Shamus O'Meara and MN Dept. of
Administration Commissioner
Dana Badgerow

Governor Tim Pawlenty has commended the Minnesota Governor's Council on Developmental Disabilities for its work in supporting individuals to be independent, productive, self determined, integrated and included in the community.

In honoring the Council on its 35th anniversary, the governor noted its work on federal public policy issues, such as early childhood special education and the Americans with Disabilities and Developmental Disabilities acts, and groundbreaking publications. He also cited the Partners in Policymaking® leadership program, which now claims more than 15,000 graduates around the world, and its innovative efforts in document imaging as an area for employment for people with developmental disabilities.

Citing his outstanding work as chair of the DD Council, his commitment to the “highest ideals of citizenship as an attorney, parent and exemplary volunteer,” Governor Pawlenty presented Shamus O'Meara with a Certificate of Recognition for his tireless dedication. More than 100 individuals with developmental disabilities have already had employment opportunities in this area.

Council Award
Former Governor Wendell Anderson was
presented with an award on the 35th
anniversary of the creation of the Governor's
Council on Developmental Disabilities at the
October 4, 2006 Council meeting.

The 33rd governor of Minnesota, Wendell Anderson, was honored for creating the Minnesota Governor's Council on October 28, 1971 and his many initiatives to improve the lives of people with developmental disabilities and to enlarge opportunities. During the Anderson administration, special education was expanded to include all children from 5 to 21 years of age, the first zoning law allowing group homes in neighborhood areas was passed, and the family subsidy law was enacted, only the second such program in the nation. A practicing lawyer and commentator since his service in the U.S. Senate, Anderson first became known as a star on the ice, initially as a Golden Gopher and then as an Olympic medal winner as part of the member of the U.S. hockey team.

Mel And Dorothy Heckt
Mel and Dorothy Heckt were presented an
award on the donation of historical items for
the creation of Parallels in Time, Part 2 at
the October 4th, 2006 Council Meeting

The parents of a daughter with a developmental disability, Melvin and Dorothy Heckt soon became involved in work to better conditions, training and opportunities for people with such disabilities. Active in The ARC of Minnesota, the Heckts played important roles in drawing attention to the needs for reform. Mel Heckt became a national leader in the Arc organization, regularly testifying before congress and working to build coalitions, and served as a member of the President's Committee on Mental Retardation. He was selected by Governor Karl Rolvaag to write legislation on the rights of people with developmental disabilities. A decorated combat hero as a Marine in the South Pacific in World War II, he has long been a leading figure in the Twin Cities legal community.

While raising their family of six children and maintaining very active lives, the Heckts found time to maintain detailed archives on the long campaigns for improvements in programs for people with developmental disabilities. These archives, which were recently donated to the DD Council, form the basis for its new online historical archive “Parallels in Time, Part 2,” which is available at the Council's Web site. The Heckts were honored for their many contributions to the field of developmental disabilities over five decades.


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The GCDD is funded under the provisions of P.L. 106-402. The federal law also provides funding to the Minnesota Disability Law Center, the state Protection and Advocacy System, and to the Institute on Community Integration, the state University Center for Excellence. The Minnesota network of programs works to increase the IPSII of people with developmental disabilities and families into community life.

This project was supported, in part by grant number 2301MNSCDD-02, from the U.S. Administration for Community Living, Department of Health and Human Services, Washington, D.C. 20201. Grantees undertaking projects with government sponsorship are encouraged to express freely their findings and conclusions. Points of view or opinions do not, therefore, necessarily represent official ACL policy.

This website is supported by the Administration for Community Living (ACL), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of a financial assistance award totaling $1,120,136.00 with 83 percent funded by ACL/HHS and $222,000.00 and 17 percent funded by non-federal-government source(s). The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement, by ACL/HHS, or the U.S. Government.