Lawrence attorney Richard Rodriguez was appointed last week to the advisory board of the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination (MCAD) by Gov. Charlie Baker.
The board, which is charged to “advise the commission and the governor on matters of policy affecting the commission, among other duties, is comprised of members from across the Commonwealth, representing a wide range of backgrounds, experiences, education, employment history and cultures. Rodriguez is himself disabled and a long-time advocate for persons with disabilities. He has first-hand experience of the difficulties faced by children and adults with disabilities, having been a victim of bullying due to his disabilities.
“As we celebrate the 25Th anniversary of the Americans Disabilities Act, I am honored and grateful to be appointed by Governor Baker as an advisory board member. As a disabled person I am excited to be part of Governor Baker’s administration and be part of the Commission’s efforts to investigate, prosecute, adjudicate and resolve cases of discrimination.” He said he brings to this position his knowledge of disability law and his belief that everyone deserves a chance to succeed in life according to his/her knowledge without fear of discrimination. He is presently a member of the Lawrence Commission on Disability, where his peers elected him as chairman.
Rodriguez was sworn in at the governor’s office. Edward Palleschi, director of boards and commissions, administered the oath of office. He was accompanied at the swearing-in by his wife, City Councilor Nilka Alvarez-Rodriguez, their two children, state Rep. Diana DiZoglio and David D’Arcangelo, director of the state Office on Disability.
Despite his disabilities and adversity, Rodriguez today is a practicing attorney and principal of The Law Office of Richard Rodriguez in Lawrence. He earned his bachelor’s from John Jay College of Criminal Justice, New York, a Paralegal Certificate with honors from Long Island University, a postgraduate certificate in public policy from CORO Foundation in Public Policy and his law degree from Massachusetts School of Law. Rodriguez serves as a motivational speaker inspiring similarly disadvantaged individuals, and most recently spoke at Asperger Works’ annual dinner of hope in Haverhill.
Rodriguez has more than 20 years of public and community service experience. He most recently worked for the Lawrence Police Department as a program director in charge of managing a $1.5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Justice. His past employment includes working for the Massachusetts Division of Unemployment Assistant Program as a job service representative, Covenant House as a community worker, Legal Aid Society as a prison legal assistance and Massachusetts House of Representative as a law school intern. He also worked as an adjunct professor at Cambridge College and served nine years in the Army National Guard.