Longdon's fan club is growing. She's received several awards for her advocacy and a reputation among elected officials as the person to call if you want to get something done on disability issues.

"She is always prepared. She does her homework," says Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton. "She is incredibly generous with her time."

He admits there's not a lot of publicity given to the work of the city's disability commission, but he says it's still "incredibly important."

Jamie Peachey
Days before their injuries, Rueckert and Longdon taught martial arts to children in a village in Fiji.
Courtesy of Jennifer Longdon
Days before their injuries, Rueckert and Longdon taught martial arts to children in a village in Fiji.

Her prodding on issues of accessibility (she's on a current crusade to better equip some light-rail stops) makes city officials think about it a lot more than they used to, Stanton says. Even though they don't always agree with her.

That's okay, he says. He's not looking for cheerleaders.

"When Jennifer Longdon challenges me and the city I love, it makes me a better mayor," he says.

There's been talk about Longdon herself running for public office.

Oh, no, she says, insisting she's not nice enough to get elected. She doesn't believe both sides are always equal.

Anyhow, she asks, with a gleam in her eye, what about Facebook?

"I'd have to give that up, wouldn't I?"

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5 comments
Pat Elliott
Pat Elliott

Fantastic. We need to see more stories like this and hear from more journalists like Amy Silverman who can tackle difficult topics with sensitivity and accuracy.

Saracat
Saracat

Jen is one of the most incredible people I have ever met. Her courage and compassion are an inspiration and her sense of humor is hilarious

stefnj2000
stefnj2000

Jennifer is the epitome of strength and resilience. She is an inspiration to many and a true voice for wheelchair users, those with spinal cord injuries and others.

This article takes us into her life in the most intimate of ways. She allows us to know what her struggles are and that they don't stop her from countless hours volunteering and committees. I am proud to be a Phoenician with Jennifer Longdon.

kennedymsw
kennedymsw

Wonderful article and a great spokesperson and advocate for so many people and causes.  I hope Jennifer does run for office she needs a larger platform than facebook. 

donnagratehouse
donnagratehouse

Jennifer Longdon is the coolest person ever. I'm honored to know her. 

Great piece, Amy. One of your best. 

 
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