Disability Rights Arkansas (DRA) is the independent, private, nonprofit organization designated by the Governor of Arkansas to implement the federally funded and authorized Protection and Advocacy systems throughout the state. DRA services include information and referral, short-term assistance, technical assistance, legal representation, systemic advocacy, monitoring, and training. We provide our services free of charge. DRA is independent from state and local government.
Through the leadership of its Board of Directors and Advisory Councils, DRA staff provides services to children and adults with disabilities throughout Arkansas. We strive to serve our clients’ expressed wishes.
DRA Executive Director
Tom has over 30 years of experience advocating for the rights of individuals with disabilities.
Prior to arriving at DRA in 2013, Tom served as the Executive Director of Disability Rights Wisconsin from January 2012 to February 2013. He worked at Michigan Protection and Advocacy Service, Inc. (MPAS) since 1987, serving as the Director of Government & Media Relations from 2002 – 2012.Throughout his roles, he has provided strategic direction and leadership on public policy efforts at the state and federal levels, represented the agencies’ position and interest on issues before State legislatures and Congress, and coordinated the agencies’ media relations activities.
At the national level, Tom has served as the Vice-President and President on the National Disability Rights Network (NDRN) Board of Directors. Currently, he serves as the board Treasurer. In addition, Tom is a member of the National Association of Rights Protection and Advocacy (NARPA) Board of Directors and serves as the Board Secretary. Recognizing that self-advocacy is the key to advancing any disability policy, Tom is also involved with the National Self Advocates Becoming Empowered organization.
In this role, he serves as a National Advisor for their Board of Directors.
On a state level, Tom serves on the Arkansas Governor’s Council on Developmental Disabilities, Arkansas Rehabilitation Council, and the Arkansas Supreme Court Commission on Children, Youth and Families. Tom is also involved in many state coalitions to advance disability rights in Arkansas.
While in Michigan, Tom served as a Township Trustee in Lansing Township from 2000 to 2012. Tom is married to Penny, and they have three boys. They make their home in Maumelle.
Director of Finance & Administration
Director of Legal and Advocacy Services
DRA Board of Directors
The DRA Board of Directors are the fiduciaries who steer the organization towards a sustainable future by adopting sound and ethical governance and ensuring it has adequate resources to advance its mission. The board plays a crucial leadership function in shaping the DRA’s future, ensuring its success, keeping it on track, and is focused on its mission and strategic plans and objectives.
PAIMI Advisory Council (PAC)
The Protection and Advocacy for Individuals with Mental Illness (PAIMI) Advisory Council supports Disability Rights Arkansas by working with its staff and Board of Directors to develop priorities for the agency’s PAIMI program. Advisory members oversee the general effectiveness of the program and work with staff to bring about any needed changes.