Massachusetts state Rep. Tom Sannicandro is House Chair of the Joint Committee on Higher Education and a member of NEBHE’s Legislative Advisory Committee. He is also the father of a child with Down syndrome.
He chaired the Special Education Parent Advisory Council in Ashland, Mass., before becoming a school committee member in 2000 and state representative in 2005. In his time on Beacon Hill, he has been a leading advocate for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. He started the Inclusive Concurrent Enrollment Initiative in Massachusetts in 2008, the country’s first publicly funded program to help students age 18 to 22 with intellectual disabilities attend mainstream college courses alongside non-disabled peers.
In May 2016, Sannicandro received his doctorate from the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University for his research on higher education affects students with intellectual disabilities. See his policy brief on Postsecondary Education Improves Employment and Earnings Outcomes for Individuals with Individuals with Intellectual Disabilities.