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Ollie Cantos Named to White House Post

From JFA Listserv, April 20, 2006

Ollie Cantos, is the new Associate Director on Disabilities of the White House Domestic Policy Council. He will serve as the White House point person on disability-related policy coordination, which at times means he will brief the President on disability issues.

Most recently, Mr. Cantos served as Special Assistant to the Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights, and then as Special Counsel at the US Department of Justice. While he was on staff with the Department of Justice, he:

  • supported efforts to enhance internship and employment opportunities for people with disabilities;
  • increased concerted outreach to ethnic minority organizations to strengthen ties to individuals with disabilities they serve;
  • assisted in cultivating leadership among youth seeking to become active in disability rights enforcement;
  • expanded its work to protect crime victims with disabilities;
  • stepped up efforts to reach out to and work with older Americans;
  • strengthened ties with businesses through the ADA Business Connection;
  • increased access to places of public accommodation in enforcing Title III of the ADA;
  • worked to enforce the rights of voters with disabilities under the Help America Vote Act;
  • broadened ADA Title II enforcement efforts under Project Civic Access;
  • upheld the rights of tenants with disabilities to accessible housing;
  • expanded the work in the transportation arena;
  • supported the worthy work of other federal government agencies in building partnerships to maximize synergy, minimize duplication, and work in other ways to help enhance
  • access by people with disabilities to every facet of community life.

The grandson of former Philippine Congressman Olegario B. Cantos, Sr., he became blind from Retinopathy of Prematurity, a permanent condition caused by medical complications resulting from premature birth. He became a leader early in life, serving on the Board of Directors of the Legal Aid Foundation in Los

Angeles, eventually becoming vice-president in 1997. He was the youngest member to be elected to the state board of the National Federation of the Blind at age 20. He also served on the Board of Directors of the Westside Center for Independent Living in California. Mr. Cantos was the 1992 Outstanding

Graduate in Political Science at the Loyola Marymount University, where he was an inductee into the Alpha Sigma Nu National Jesuit Honor Society, and he graduated from Loyola Law School in 1997.

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