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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release September 17, 1999



The President today announced his intent to appoint Sheryl Dicker and Patricia T. Russell to serve as members of the President's Committee on Mental Retardation.

Ms. Dicker, of Mamaroneck, New York, an attorney who has worked for over 20 years on behalf of poor and disabled children, has served as the Executive Director of the New York State Permanent Judicial Commission on Justice for Children since 1991. The Commission, which is the New York State Chief Judge's Commission, focuses attention on poor young children involved with the court system. From 1986-1991, she served as the Project Director of the Foundation for Child Development in New York, where she authored a book on child advocacy. She spent several years directing an Arkansas disability advocacy project and from 1983-1984, Ms. Dicker was General Counsel of the Arkansas Department of Human Services. She received an A.B. degree from Syracuse University and a J.D. degree from the Syracuse University School of Law.

Ms. Russell, of Keene, New Hampshire, is the Mayor of Keene and a community activist for children and families. She is a member of the State Advisory Group on Juvenile Justice, the Council for a Healthier Community, and New Hope-New Horizons, a program dealing with developmental disabilities. She is a former Chair of the Monadnock Developmental Disabilities Services Board, and a former Secretary of the National Association of Developmental Disabilities Councils. She has served as a member of the Cheshire County Literacy Coalition and the New Hampshire Board of Children & Youth. In addition, Ms. Russell was a delegate to the White House Conference on Aging.

The President's Committee on Mental Retardation was created by Executive Order in May 1966. The Committee provides advice and assistance to the President and the Secretary of Health and Human Services and publishes an annual report regarding the concerns of the mental retardation community.