The Friends of Rish Park and our coalition of advocates, families, and individuals with disabilities are writing to express our profound appreciation to Gov. Ron DeSantis, House Speaker Chris Sprowls, Sen. Loranne Ausley, Sen. Ben Albritton, Rep. Jason Shoaf, Rep. Allison Tant, and the Florida Parks System for including needed improvements to the William J.…
A two-time U.S. presidential appointee and seven-time Florida gubernatorial appointee under four different governors, Dr. Harding has made significant contributions to public policy, the nation, the state of Florida and persons with disabilities. He has been asked to speak and testify on numerous occasions to the United States Congress and the Florida Legislature. As the former Chairman of the Florida Commission for Transportation Disadvantaged, the former Vice Chairman of the Governor’s Commission on Disabilities and the former Vice Chairman of the Governor’s ADA Working Group, he has personally helped shape numerous pieces of legislation affecting the independence and self-sufficiency of individuals with disabilities. He has helped direct both federal and state resources to programs that advance opportunities for persons with disabilities.
Dr. Harding was a contributing author to the Florida State University System Master Plan in 1998, which included persons with disabilities for the first time. He is a co-founder of Florida Disability Mentoring Day and a contributing author to the Volunteer Voting Systems Guidelines under the Help America Vote Act of 2006, as well as the 2004 Accessibility Guidelines, which are now the 2010 accessibility standards.
Dr. Harding further advocates for people living with disabilities through speaking out on Capitol Hill — by working with federal agencies such as the Department of Justice to see that non-discrimination laws are implemented and enforced on both the state and federal levels. He has a successful record of advocating at national, state and local levels for issues including federal accessibility standards, elections standards, new state transportation law, outdoor recreational funding, statewide mentoring activities and gas station access.