With deep sorrow, the U.S. Access Board announces the passing of Bobby Silverstein. Silverstein’s advocacy work on disability rights spanned over four decades, including his pivotal role in drafting and advancing the landmark Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. He passed away peacefully and was surrounded by family on November 17, 2022 at Reston Hospital Center in Virginia.
“Bobby was a true pillar of disability rights and policy,” stated Access Board Executive Director Sachin Pavithran. “In his approach to build consensus and collaborate with others, he was instrumental in bringing to fruition the Americans with Disabilities Act, and he was an important advocate for including disability policies in the workforce and assisting private and public sector employers to adopt disability-inclusive policies. Our society is more inclusive of people with disabilities because of Bobby’s lifetime work.”
Silverstein served in various capacities in the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate, including staff director and chief counsel for the Subcommittee on Disability Policy of the Senate Committee on Labor and Human Resources (currently the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions). There, he negotiated and drafted bipartisan, consensus legislation. At the time of his passing, he was a principal in the law firm of Powers Pyles Sutter & Verville, PC, where he focused on federal regulatory and legislative issues in the areas of disability, healthcare, rehabilitation, employment, education, social security, and civil rights.
Silverstein was also a prolific writer, researcher, and speaker who advocated for public policy from a disability perspective. He wrote several peer-reviewed journal articles and 100 papers and articles, was the keynote speaker for national and state organizations, and facilitated training sessions in more than 40 states on various public policy issues and the policymaking process. Silverstein was also awarded many accolades, including more than ten national awards, such as the Distinguished Services Award of the President of the United States.
The Access Board sends its condolences to Silverstein’s family and friends.