James Langevin, a Democrat from Rhode Island, has become the first person with quadriplegia to be elected to the US Congress. Langevin, whose campaign stressed universal health care, new systems for campaign funding, and education reform, won his seat in the US House of Representatives with 62 percent of the vote.
Having been partially paralyzed at age 13 in an accident involving a gun, Langevin will also emphasize gun control laws in his service to the US Congress. He will push legislation for a seven-day waiting period on all gun purchases and for mandatory trigger locks on all guns.
Langevin’s election will also mean increased accessibility for the House in Washington, D.C. In addition to ramp installation, the House will develop a voting machine suited to Langevin’s mobility in his arms and hands. Plus, extra room will be allocated to his House chamber seat for his wheelchair. The renovations will be completed before Langevin takes office in January.
Langevin held a seat in the Rhode Island House until 1994 and was secretary of state prior to this year’s election.