Wyoming Special Olympics members urge for continued support from Washington

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WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - Showing off Olympic hardware, not in Pyeongchang but in Washington, D.C. Local Special Olympians made the trip to our nation’s capital to meet with their representatives. It’s the annual lobbying day for Wyoming Special Olympians where they send a message to their leaders that they need funding.

Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY) says the Special Olympics is good for athletes and for Wyoming communities.

“Well it makes me happy...gives me joy,” said Tess Robinson, an athlete from Casper, WY.

Robinson has competed for 20 years and hopes to for many more.

“Probably forever,” she says.

For that Tess needs funding. She and Priscilla Dowse, the president of Special Olympics Wyoming, took to Capitol Hill to stress that need. Meeting with Wyoming lawmakers to urge continued support for essential programs, Dowse says she’s optimistic her lawmakers will listen.

“Our athletes deserve the same opportunities as their peers without disabilities. They deserve respect. They work hard. They live on their own. They compete hard. They’re part of our communities,” said Dowse.

Dowse says funding will support education and health care for athletes. Senator John Barrasso (R-WY) says he’ll vote to give these athletes what they need.

“It’s such an incredibly contributing part of their life and you want to make sure those great feelings continue,” said Barrasso.

He says a mixture of government funding and Wyoming volunteers keep the program strong. He says Special Olympics impacts everyone in the Cowboy State.

“They bring a level of joy to the community to people who interact with them. And most certainly what Special Olympics does with them and their quality of life is significant,” said Barrasso.

Barrasso says voting on money for the program will be part of the budget process, expected to take place later this year.