Loranne Ausley was elected to the Florida House of Representatives in 2016 where she serves on the Commerce and Ways and Means Committees, as well as subcommittees on environment, agriculture and regulated industries. Loranne previously represented Florida’s Capital City in the same seat from 2000-2008 before retiring due to term limits. Ausley is also an attorney with Hollimon PA – a small Tallahassee firm. During her time in the Florida House, Loranne has established herself as an independent-minded leader unafraid to take on tough problems and find real solutions. Loranne is a sixth-generation Floridian who has held senior positions in federal and state government, working closely with some of Florida’s most respected leaders including Bob Graham, and Lawton Chiles. Loranne is active in a number of local, state and national organizations. She was instrumental in creating Whole Child Leon, a community-based initiative focused on young children and their families. Loranne graduated from Randolph-Macon Woman’s College with degrees in Economics and Politics, and earned her J.D. from the Washington & Lee University School of Law in Lexington, Virginia. She lives in Tallahassee, Florida with her husband Bill Hollimon and son, Will, age 14. Loranne is a runner and triathlete, and a two-time Ironman finisher (Chattanooga, 2016; Florida 2007).
Pro-Growth Progressive Ideas Shared
Children with disabilities in the public school system often require assistive technology devices to provide them with the opportunity to fully integrate into the learning process and successfully navigate through school, the community and the workplace. Examples of assistive technology devices include tablets which help non-verbal students speak or help visually impaired students access materials, voice activated wheelchairs, voice activated readers, voice-synthesized computer modules, optical scanners, and talking software. These devices are created and programmed to meet the needs of individual students. However, due to a lack of cooperation, collaboration and bureaucratic red tape these life-changing technologies did not follow a student through their educational progress and instead reverted back to the school system.
In 2005 I sponsored and passed legislation ensuring that individuals with disabilities who are provided with assistive technology devices may retain the devices as they transition through the education system, employment and independent living. Upon returning to the Legislature in 2016, I learned that some students were not able to access their individualized devices outside of school, so we filed a bill to correct this. This legislative change makes sure that assistive technology can help students with disabilities fully integrate into the learning process, and successfully navigate through school, the community and the workplace by giving them access to this life-changing technology at school, at home and in the community.
We know that 90% of brain development takes place before the age of 5, yet community support for families with young children is sporadic and fragmented. Although Leon County houses the Capitol of Florida, 2 major research universities and a community college, more than 25% of Leon County children live in poverty and a corresponding 25% enter Kindergarten without the language or basic skills to succeed. Leon County rates for infant mortality, premature births and low birth weight in Leon County are higher than in the state as a whole.
Whole Child Leon (WCL) is a community-wide initiative designed to address critical issues affecting our children by bringing together public, private and nonprofit partners, business leaders, elected officials, educators, health care providers, parents and caregivers to work together towards systemic change. WCL empowers these partners with data to better understand children's needs and equip the entire community to measure progress, provide recommendations and to inform progress moving forward. Key initiatives include the PACT Early Childhood System of Care, a monthly Whole Child Leon Professional Network, an annual Maternal Child Health Community Conference, an ongoing Breastfeeding Policy Workgroup, bi-annual Early Childhood Developmental Screenings, ongoing Childhood Obesity Prevention Education and neighborhood equity work.