‘He’s an inspiration’: Disability advocates remember deceased Ky. lawmaker with cerebral palsy

State Representative Lamin Swann died on Sunday after suffering a brief illness.
Published: May. 15, 2023 at 5:21 PM EDT
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - State Representative Lamin Swann died on Sunday after suffering a brief illness.

The 45-year-old was born with cerebral palsy, a group of disorders that affects a person’s mobility.

Advocates of the disabled community say Swann is proof disabled people can thrive and serve the people around them.

“Individuals with cerebral palsy may be physically disabled, but they typically have better than average minds and intelligence,” said The Point Arc President Judi Gerding.

The Point Arc is an organization that helps people with intellectual developmental disabilities reach their highest potential.

Gerding says Rep. Swann’s physical inability may have been a positive, putting his ability in other areas.

“We need more individuals like Rep. Swann who demonstrate the capacity of people with disability to serve in leadership roles,” said Harold Kleinert, the former executive director of the Human Development Institute at UK.

HDI focuses on developmental disabilities, education and research.

“The fact that he had a disability brought a great deal to what he was able to contribute,” said Kleinert.

While in office, Swann served on Transportation, Health Services and Election committees, among others.

“I think he’s an inspiration because he never gave up, and that’s what life is all about,” said Gerding.

Rep. Swann pushed for expanded housing discrimination laws and to have public high and middle schools adopt a curriculum teaching the history of racism in the United States.