The Election of A War Veteran in Colorado Puts Wheelchair Access Front And Center At The Capitol | Colorado Public Radio

The Election of A War Veteran in Colorado Puts Wheelchair Access Front And Center At The Capitol

By Bente Birkeland

November 25, 2020

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Hart Van Denburg/CPR NewsFormer combat aviator for the U.S. Army, David Ortiz greets a well-wisher on the state House floor during Military Appreciation Day Friday Feb. 1, 2019. Ortiz, who uses a wheelchair, has been elected to the House and modifications are now being made to the Capitol to be more accessible.

Soon Colorado will get its first state lawmaker known to use a wheelchair. Democrat David Ortiz was elected by voters in south Metro Denver and will be sworn into office in January. But the Capitol building, where he’ll work and where he’s supposed to interact with his colleagues and the people he serves, is not fully accessible to him.

His election has jumpstarted some changes to the 130-year-old building that some say are long overdue.

“Obviously the most urgent thing was to make sure I could at least do my job,” Ortiz said.

The former aviator survived a catastrophic helicopter crash eight years ago while serving in Afghanistan. The U.S. Army veteran lives in Littleton, and the accident left him without sensation or muscle [...]

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