President Obama Names NEC President & CEO to Chair President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities

BOSTON (May 12, 2011) – President Barack Obama has announced that James T. Brett, the President & CEO of the New England Council, has been appointed to serve as the Chair of the President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities (PCPID).

“I am honored and humbled to have been selected by President Obama to chair the President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities,” Mr. Brett said.  “Advocacy for people with intellectual disabilities is a cause that is near and dear to my heart, and I look forward to the opportunity to work with other members of the committee to offer guidance and advice to the President how we can best support people with intellectual disabilities.”

Mr. Brett, a Dorchester resident, has served as the President & CEO of the New England Council, a non-partisan business organization representing businesses throughout the six New England states, since 1996.  Prior to joining the Council, he served in the Massachusetts House of Representatives for over 15 years.  Throughout his career, Mr. Brett has been an outspoken and tireless advocate for people with intellectual disabilities.  He currently serves as the Chairman of the Massachusetts Governor’s Commission on Intellectual Disability, and served as Co-Chairman of the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health Inpatient Study Commission. Mr. Brett is a member of the Board of Directors of the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation, the Massachusetts Association for Mental Health, The Boys and Girls Clubs of Dorchester, and the National Apostolate for Inclusion Ministry. He serves on the Advisory Council of the Robert F. Kennedy Children’s Action Corps, The New England Center for Children and the Board of Advocates of Bay Cove Human Services, Inc. He is also an Honorary Board of Directors Member of Special Olympics Massachusetts.

Mr. Brett’s humanitarian work has been recognized by a number of organizations, including Action for Boston Community Development and Hospice of Boston (Humanitarian of the Year).  In 1996, Bay Cove Human Services of Boston named a new community home for disabled adults “Brett House” in his honor.  Mr. Brett also received the Distinguished Leadership Award from Massachusetts Special Olympics in 2008.  In 2009, the Boston Red Sox invited him to throw out the ceremonial first pitch at Fenway Park in recognition of his national contributions in support of people with intellectual disabilities.

The mission of the President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities is to provide advice and assistance to the President of the United States and the Secretary of Health and Human Services on a broad range of topics that impact people with intellectual disabilities and the field of Intellectual Disabilities.  The Committee’s goal is to improve the quality of life that is experienced by people with intellectual disabilities, by upholding their full citizenship rights, independence, self-determination, and life-long participation in their respective communities.  Mr. Brett previously served on the committee under Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush.

The New England Council, the country’s oldest regional business organization, is an alliance of businesses, academic and health institutions, and public and private organizations throughout New England formed to promote economic growth and a high quality of life in the region.  The Council is dedicated to identifying and supporting federal public policies and articulating the voice of its membership regionally and nationally on important issues facing New England.  The NEC is also committed to working with public and private sector leaders across the region and in Washington through educational programs and forums for information exchange.  For more information, please visit:

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