Committee Members

The Texas Governor's Committee on People with Disabilities consists of 12 volunteer members appointed by the Governor, seven of whom must be persons with disabilities. Ex-officio members and advisory representatives represent state agencies serving people with disabilities. Committee members meet at least quarterly. Learn more about committee law in the Texas Human Resources Code Chapter 115.

* Indicates a member who is filling a required position of person with a disability.

  • Richard Martinez - Chair, grant manager and compliance coordinator, VIA Metropolitan Transit; San Antonio*
  • Kori A. Allen - ADA & Capital Programs coordinator for the City of Coppell; McKinney*
  • Ellen M. Bauman - Special Needs Ministry Liaison for First United Methodist Church in Arlington; Joshua
  • Evelyn Cano - Disability Chamber of Commerce RGV co-founder/president, Pharr
  • Neva Fairchild - National Aging & Vision Loss Specialist, retired; Flower Mound*
  • Elyse L. Lieberman, PhD - Dr. Lieberman is employed by Education Service Center, Region 3; Victoria
  • Eric N. Lindsay - Vice President and Legislative Director for the Paralyzed Veterans of America Texas Chapter; San Antonio*
  • Jose J. (Joseph) Muñiz - retired; Harlingen*
  • Kristie L. Orr, PhD -  Disability Resources Director for Texas A&M University; College Station
  • Emma F. Rudkin - CEO and founder of Aid the Silent; Boerne*
  • Lauren Taylor - Certified Rehabilitation Counselor; Denton*
  • Benjamin Willis - student at Veritas Classical Academy; Lumberton*

Member Profiles


Photo of Richard MartinezRichard Martinez

Richard Martinez of San Antonio, serves as Chair of the Governor’s Committee on People with Disabilities. Martinez is a grant manager and compliance coordinator for VIA Metropolitan Transit. He is a former government relations officer for the Texas Department of Transportation and assistant to the border commerce coordinator for the Secretary of State Office. He also worked for several U.S. Secretaries of Transportation, the Executive Office of President George H. W. Bush and U.S. Congressman Henry Bonilla. He is a graduate of the San Antonio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce's Alex Briseño Leadership Development Program and former parish council member and Archbishop’s Appeal Chair for St. Elizabeth Catholic Church. Martinez received a bachelor’s degree from Texas A&M International University.

Photo of Kori AllenKori A. Allen

Kori Allen of McKinney TX is ADA & Capital Programs Coordinator for the City of Coppell. She is Committee Chair of the City of Coppell ADA Liaison Advocates and ADA Facilities Parks Plan. Additionally, she is Vice President of the Dallas/Fort Worth Chapter of Little People of America and a volunteer for Metrocrest Services. She has presented her experiences as an individual with disability and ADA Coordinator to the Bike and Pedestrian Advisory Committee, Houston-Galveston Area Council, Customer Service Institute of Coppell, and Career Success Conference of Tyler. Allen received a Bachelor of Science in Health Studies from The University of Texas at Tyler and is working toward certification by the Texas Accessibility Academy as a Registered Accessibility Specialist.

Photo of Ellen Bauman Ellen M. Bauman

Ellen Bauman of Joshua is a grass-roots advocate for people with disabilities and their families. Her journey has evolved out of personal experience while navigating life in search of resources for her granddaughter. Her passion is to inform, educate and empower not only these individuals and their families, but those who are in places of authority, responsible for protecting their rights and providing for their needs. She strives to secure the best quality of life possible for every individual. Her goal is that all are treated with the dignity and respect they deserve. Ellen is the Special Needs Ministry Liaison for First United Methodist Church in Arlington and is a Certified Christian Educator. She is an ARC of Greater Mid-Cities Board member, Department of Aging and Disabilities of North Central Texas Advisory Committee member, IDD Council of Tarrant County member and Texas Parent 2 Parent volunteer.

Photo of Evelyn CanoEvelyn Cano

Evelyn Cano of Pharr, TX is the co-founder and President of the Disability Chamber of Commerce Rio Grande Valley. DCC-RGV supports local businesses via the promotion of inclusive hiring best practices by fostering collaboration and promoting economic growth for the Cross-Disability Community in the Rio Grande Valley. Mrs. Cano is the co-owner of Grande Produce LTD and Cano & Sons Trucking in San Juan, TX. She received a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from Indiana University. Her past disability advocacy endeavors include serving as an interim Executive Director of Capable Kids Foundation, working as an independent parent advocate and gracing the stage of TEDx McAllen as a presenter about the disability advocacy movement in the RGV. In 2020, Mrs. Cano began her service as a board member with Disability Rights Texas. She is a graduate of Texas Council for Developmental Disabilities Texas Partners in Policy Making course, a member of the Council of Parents, Advocates and Attorneys (COPAA) and the proud parent of a 13 year old self advocate with Autism.

Neva Fairchild

Neva Fairchild of Flower Mound recently retired as national aging & vision loss specialist at the American Foundation for the Blind and has worked in the field of blindness services for over 30 years. She is the immediate past president of the Association for Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired and the newsletter editor for the American Council of the Blind of Texas. Fairchild received a Bachelor of Science in Rehabilitation Science and a Master of Science in Rehabilitation Counseling Psychology from The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas.

Elyse L. Lieberman, Ph.D.

Elyse Lieberman, Ph.D. of Victoria is an Education Specialist for the Education Service Center Region 3 and has over 25 years of experience in Texas public schools as a teacher and administrator of special education programs. Previously, she served as a faculty member of Western Governors University in the Educational Leadership Department of the Teachers College. She is a member of the Texas Council of Administrators for Special Education and the Council for Exceptional Children. Lieberman received a Bachelor of Applied Arts & Science in American Studies and Psychology from the University of Delaware and a Master of Education in Education Administration and a Doctor of Philosophy in Education Administration from Texas A&M College Station.

Photo of Eric LindsayEric N. Lindsay

Eric Lindsay of San Antonio is the Vice President and Legislative Director for the Paralyzed Veterans of America Texas Chapter. He retired as a Lieutenant Colonel after serving in the United States Army for 21 years. Lindsay received a Bachelor of Arts in History from Washington State University and a Master of Arts in Diplomacy and a Master of Science in International Business from Seton Hall University.

Photo of Joseph MunizJose J. (Joseph) Muñiz

Joseph Muñiz of Harlingen is retired. He previously worked as a librarian and the assistant library director for the City of Harlingen, and previously served as president of the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired Governing Board. He is a past member of the Texas Commission for the Blind and past vice presiding officer of the Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services Council. Muñiz received a Bachelor of Arts in History from Texas A&M University.

Photo of Kristie OrrKristie L. Orr, Ph.D.

Kristie Orr, Ph.D. of College Station is disability resources director for Texas A&M University. She is president of the Association on Higher Education and Disability and a member of the Association on Higher Education and Disability in Texas. She frequently provides peer workshops, lectures, and external reviews at state and national conferences and on campuses throughout the United States. Orr received a Bachelor of Science in Psychology and a Doctor of Philosophy in School Psychology from Texas A&M University, College Station and a Master of Education in Counseling, Clinical, and School Psychology from the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Photo of Emma Faye RudkinEmma Faye Rudkin

Emma Faye Rudkin of Boerne, is CEO and founder of Aid the Silent, a non-profit that advocates for deaf and hard of hearing children. Aid the Silent puts on the annual Good Vibrations Music and Arts Festival in San Antonio, the largest all-day, deaf accessible festival in the U.S. She is also a musician and speaker, and was a finalist in the Miss Texas Pageant in 2017. Rudkin is also on staff for Deaf Young Life. Emma Faye Rudkin will receive her Bachelor of Science degree in communications and non-profit management from The University of Texas at San Antonio Honor College in December, 2018.


Lauren Taylor

Lauren Taylor of Denton is a certified rehabilitation counselor and a licensed professional counselor associate. She was born with Muscular Dystrophy and has used a power chair for mobility since the age of 3. She currently works as a senior program project coordinator for the ENGAGE program, which is housed under the University of North Texas Workplace Inclusion and Sustainable Employment office. She is also a Leader for To Be Like Me, where she educates school age children as well as the general public about disabilities. She earned the title of Miss Wheelchair Texas 2019 and currently volunteers for Canine Companions.

Headshot of Benjamin WillisBenjamin Willis

Benjamin Willis of Lumberton is a student at Veritas Classical Academy. He has volunteered at the Muscular Dystrophy Association where he served as the Southeast Goodwill Ambassador. Additionally, he competed in the 2021 and 2022 Texas High School Mock Trial Competition. Willis will graduate in 2024.