Recent Press Releases and News

WASHINGTON, DC – Congressman Ander Crenshaw today (12/10) announced nominations for 41 students in the Fourth Congressional District to compete for appointments to United States service academies.

“Our service academies are vital in preparing today’s youth to assume the responsibility and leadership required to become our future military leaders,” said Congressman Crenshaw. “These young individuals are more than up to the challenge. These students represent North East Florida’s best and brightest, and I am proud to nominate them to attend some of our nation’s finest educational institutions.”

Members of Congressman Crenshaw’s Military Academy Selection Committee, which is made up of individuals who have graduated from the academies and/or have military service, interviewed these students and selected the nominees. Service academies then offer appointments from a nationwide list of nominees from Members of Congress, including Congressman Crenshaw’s nominations. Final appointments are determined by the academies.

This year’s list of academy nominations is as follows:

U.S. Naval Academy

Alex Chen Paxon, School for Advanced Studies

Alexander Couch, Paxon School for Advanced Studies

Amber Slack, Home Schooled

David De Dios, Stanton College Preparatory School

James Graham, Episcopal School

John Steinmeyer, Baker County High School

Joshua James, Trinity Christian Academy

Karlie Werdmolder, Westminster School

Madeline Stevens, Stanton College Preparatory School

Madeline Stotlemeyer, Providence School

Matthew Deas, Hamilton County High School

Michael Koppel, Episcopal School

Michael Pentaleri, The Bolles School

Michelle Siguenza, Atlantic Coast High School

Patrick Adams, Harvest Community School

Richard Bertrand, Mandarin High School

Thomas Riherd, Union County High School

U.S. Merchant Marine Academy

Jack Reasoner, Terry Parker High School

John Peterson, Nassau County High School

Matthew Deas, Hamilton County High School

Nicholas Bell, Bishop Kenny High School

Rubyn Johnson, Mandarin High School

U.S. Air Force Academy

Alisa Chernomashentsev, Atlantic Coast High School

David De Dios, Stanton College Preparatory School

Garrett Powers, West Nassau High School

Gene Youngblood, Home Schooled

Joseph Kincart, Episcopal School

Myah Jackson, The Potter’s House Christian Academy

Patrick Adams, Harvest Community School

Steven Cornellier, Bishop Kenny High School

Tyler Singleton, Episcopal School

U.S. Military Academy

Alex Chen, Paxon School for Advanced Studies

Anastasia Bistrow, Providence School

Avery Fullerton, Episcopal School

Chad Oliver, Madison County High School

Darian Shump, Stanton College Preparatory School

Michael Ryan, St. Joseph Academy

Santos Rodriguez, Union County High School

Seth Harbin, Fernandina Beach High School

Stephanie Riley, Stanton College Preparatory School

Thomas Piatek, Episcopal School


WASHINGTON, DC – Congressman Ander Crenshaw (R-FL) and Senator Robert Casey (D-PA) today (11/15) recognized the year anniversary of the introduction of the Achieving a Better Life Experience Act (ABLE Act – HR 3423/S 1872), citing growing support for creating tax-free savings accounts for the disabled and underscoring their continued fight to push the bipartisan bill to passage during the current lame duck session of Congress.

House and Senate bill co-sponsors and representatives from the National Down Syndrome Society, The Arc, and Autism Speaks joined them at a press conference at the House Triangle on the grounds of the United States Capitol on Thursday, Nov. 15. There, members of the group marked the anniversary of the bill’s introduction in the 112th Congress, outlined the road ahead for the bill, and described an improved quality of life for individuals with disabilities through the legislation.

The ABLE Act would amend Section 529 of the Internal Revenue Service Code of 1986 to create tax-free savings accounts for individuals with disabilities. The bill was introduced in the 112th Congress on November 15, 2011 and has earned the support of 234 House Members and 40 Senate Members.

“A year ago we stood here to mark the start of our journey in the 112th Congress. Now, with more than half of Congress on board, we celebrate the distance we’ve covered and join hands in a push to the finish line,” said Crenshaw. “As we move ahead, our central message of equality for the disabled remains the same. The existing tax code provides advantages to help Americans save for college and retirement, yet people with disabilities do not enjoy those same financial planning tools. These individuals and their families face enormous financial struggles that most of us cannot imagine. The ABLE Act helps ease those strains by making tax-free savings accounts available to cover qualified expenses. No longer would individuals with disabilities have to stand by and watch others use IRS-sanctioned tools to lay the groundwork for a brighter future. They would be able to as well. That’s an accomplishment we all can be proud of and one we will reach.”

Senator Casey stated, “Parents of children with disabilities face struggles on a daily basis that we can’t even begin to imagine. Passing the bipartisan ABLE Act will provide a measure of security for parents with disabled children who will be able to set aside savings for their long term care in a tax free account. Helping these parents provide for the long term care of their disabled child is an issue Democrats and Republicans can come together on. I’m hopeful that we’ll pass the ABLE Act this year.”

Congresswoman McMorris Rodgers stated, “As the mom of a child with special needs and Co-Chair of the Congressional Down Syndrome Caucus, I know firsthand the importance of promoting policies that will help those with disabilities lead independent lives. The ABLE Act will allow parents to save for their children’s futures and give kids with disabilities an added layer of security. I’m proud to join a bipartisan group of House and Senate leaders in support of this legislation, and I will do all that I can to ensure that individuals with disabilities have better and brighter futures.”

Congressman Pete Sessions (R-TX) stated, “The support we’ve seen for the ABLE Act this year is encouraging, and I will continue to work with my colleagues on moving this common-sense legislation forward. As the father of a young man with Down syndrome, I am committed to finding ways to enhance the quality of life and maximize the potential for all individuals with disabilities. I strongly believe that allowing families to form tax-free savings accounts to cover certain expenses, like education and housing, will create a brighter future for our loved ones with disabilities.”

Congressman Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) stated: “We believe in an inclusive America where everyone has the right to reach for their full potential. People with disabilities and their families, in Maryland and across the country, are asking Congress for a greater opportunity to take charge of their own lives. The ABLE Act will give them that opportunity, and I’m pleased to be a part of this effort.”

Jon Colman, NDSS President, stated, “The National Down Syndrome Society envisions a world in which all people with Down syndrome have the opportunity to enhance their quality of life, realize their life aspirations, and become valued members of welcoming communities. This is the precise reason that NDSS has been actively supporting and advocating for the passage of the Achieving Better Life Experience Act since it was first introduced.”

Marty Ford, Director of Public Policy for The Arc, stated, “The ABLE Act will break down barriers to financial security for many families with a person with a disability. With more than half the Congress supporting this common sense legislation in a bipartisan manner, now is the time to pass it so that many people with disabilities and their families can begin to count on this important tool.”

Peter Bell, Executive Vice President of Programs and Services for Autism Speaks, stated: “With the prevalence of autism on the rise and the lifetime cost of caring for a single individual now estimated at about $2 million, ABLE offers a fiscally responsible solution to address this public health crisis. We urge Congress to recognize the overwhelming bipartisan support for this measure and act for all families with disabilities this session.”


Congressman Ander Crenshaw

• Barbara Riley, Communications Director

Email:, Phone: 202.225.2501

Senator Robert Casey

• April Mellody, Communications Director/ John Rizzo, Press Secretary

Email: and

Phone: 202.224.6324

National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS)

• Chip Gerhardt, National Down Syndrome Society Board Chair

• NDSS Self Advocate Jenny Cunningham, Worthington, OH

• NDSS contact: Sara Hart Weir, Vice President, Advocacy & Affiliate Relations

Email:, Phone: 202.680.8867


• Joyce Lipman, Former Board Member of TheArc and her daughter Elise Lipman, Rockville, MD

• TheArc contact: Kristen McKiernan, Communications Director

Email:, Phone: 202.534.3712 | Toll free: 800.433.5255

Autism Speaks

• Peter Bell, Executive Vice President, Autism Speaks

• Autism Speaks Self Advocate Scott Gladstone, Bethesda, MD

• Autism Speaks contact: Rick Remington, Communications Director, Government Relations

Email:, Phone: 646.367.5334


Recent Speeches and Statements

Congressman Ander Crenshaw commended the heroism of the late WWII Veteran Clyde L. Hillhouse in a floor speech and urged colleagues to pass legislation naming the White Springs, Florida Post Office in his honor.
Congressman Crenshaw addresses his House colleagues on on November 7, 2009 with concerns over how health care reform will impact the nation's military.

Recent Audio and Video