Announcing new ED Jake Cornett

A nationwide search

In the wake of Bob Joondeph’s retirement announcement, the Board of Directors was tasked with appointing a new executive director to lead the organization. The executive director has a profound impact on the success of the organization – communicating Disability Rights Oregon’s understanding of the challenges faced by our community and expanding the organization’s vision and ability to meet those challenges.

To find the best possible person, we launched a nationwide search. A talented pool of applicants applied. We’re grateful to everyone who expressed their interest in this position. After much deliberation, we selected the person who we thought could best build on Disability Rights Oregon’s past success and chart a course toward an even more promising future.

We’re pleased to introduce you to DRO’s new executive director Jake Cornett.  We’re confident that Jake will successfully lead the organization in fighting the big challenges before us and preparing for those that lie ahead. Under his leadership, we have no doubt that Disability Rights Oregon will move forward with its transformative work.

Introducing Jake Cornett

A head shot of Jake smiling at the cameraJake’s entire professional career has been working in support of disability and civil rights in one way or another. He brings to this role deep experience in federal policymaking, coalition-building, and management. He has worked on the federal level to advance and uphold the rights of people with disabilities through legislative advocacy and funding Protection and Advocacy agencies.

He has served as the Senate’s top staff member on disability policy. As Senior Advisor to U.S. Senator Patty Murray on the Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, he directed the Democrat’s work on protecting the rights of people with disabilities across the areas of education, healthcare, and employment. His responsibilities encompassed all legislation, executive branch oversight, nominees, and political strategy on disability policy.

His recent achievements on behalf of people with disabilities include: his efforts to build coalitions to support repealing section 14(c) of the Fair Labor Standards Act so that employers can no longer pay workers with disabilities a wage lower than the federal and state minimum wage; and his push back against legislation that would weaken the Americans with Disabilities Act by restricting a person’s ability to enforce their rights to be free from disability discrimination; and his work to defend Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act from being repealed or cut.

Jake is originally from the Seattle area. The first part of his career brought him to Kansas and then our nation’s capital. He’s happy to be back in the Pacific Northwest. Jake will move into the executive director role Monday, March 18. We’re excited to watch the impact that will unfold under his direction.

Please join us in giving Jake a warm welcome.

Best regards,
Jan Campbell
President, Board of Directors
Disability Rights Oregon

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