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Meet Sara Hart Weir

Sara Hart Weir has dedicated her life to helping others. Through a career propelled by a single summer experience, she has pushed countless Americans one step closer to reaching their American Dream.

Sara’s motivation for public service started in high school. As one of six students chosen to participate in the Olathe, Kansas Chamber of Commerce’s leadership program, she found a passion for helping others and became involved in her local government. She recalls the experience as a chance to see the importance of being an informed citizen and the impact that can have on the community.

Later, Sara would return to her hometown to find another passion: advocating for those with disabilities.

“I was getting ready to come home to Olathe for the summer between my freshman and sophomore year of college and was offered a position to be a peer mentor to a young woman who happened to have down syndrome. I spent the entire summer working with Kasey, teaching her life skills and really becoming part of her life. I recall taking her to and from the Special Olympics, spending afternoons at the library, and going to the movies. What started with a summer job at 19 turned into my life’s passion.”

These moments began showing her the world through the eyes of people with disabilities.

“Through my friendship with Kasey and getting to know her incredible parents, I started to ask questions about some of the challenges that their family faced with raising their daughter, who happened to have down syndrome. I found that the challenges and barriers they were facing had nothing to do with down syndrome. It had everything to do with an archaic, outdated system.”

Weir spent over seven years at the National Down Syndrome Society, first as Vice President, then as President and CEO. Her proudest moment during this time was bringing together federal lawmakers from both parties to pass the ABLE Act, which allows people with disabilities to have their own bank accounts with more than $2,000, a freedom not allowed until the passage of the legislation. Through her advocacy for the ABLE Act, Sara got an inside look at Congress—motivating her to run for office.

“I’ve lived my career through the mantra: if you’re not at the table, you’re on the menu. The ABLE Act was the last bill that passed in the 2014 session, and it was incredibly exciting to put a stake in the ground that people with disabilities can save their own money. We got people to work together so those with disabilities could have a fair shot at the American Dream, and I decided that if I ever wanted to run for office, it would be dedicated to a campaign established on compromise. That is when change happens.”

Weir’s new efforts include BelongKC, where she continues her advocacy in the Kansas City area.

“My Sara Hart Weir version of the American Dream is ensuring the disability community is treated like every other American. Through my advocacy and activism, I have worked for this, and I will not stop until we create a new set of standards where we’re modernizing the archaic, outdated laws and treating people with disabilities fairly.”

She credits LEAD for advancing this mission of the American Dream for all.

“LEAD is all about leadership. Our country’s motto is E Pluribus Unum, out of many one. Until we continue to serve underrepresented and underserved communities like the disabled community, we aren’t achieving the American Dream for everyone. LEAD has the tried-and-true leadership of ensuring every single American has the tools and support to achieve their own American Dream, whatever it may be. I am proud to be a part of that.”

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