About Me

I’m Jon Slifka,


Throughout my entire life, I have broken barriers.

Growing up in West Hartford, Connecticut, at every turn I was the first person with a disability to take the path I followed. The first one to be mainstreamed through the public school system. The first one in the state to play in the Little League. The first Connecticut student in a wheelchair to play on a high school tennis team.

I didn’t always realize I was traversing new ground, I just felt I was headed in the right direction.

This approach to life was perhaps innate in me. Raised by my mother, Janeace, and father, Bob to see challenges as opportunities, an outlook of optimism came naturally.

I served as the March of Dimes Poster Child from 1985 to 1987, an eye-opening time in my life that stoked a fire of passion in me to share my lived experiences with others to help inspire and motivate those with and without disabilities to achieve their highest potential.

In 1991, my mom founded the Hospital for Special Care’s Ivan Lendl Adaptive Sports Camp – an adaptive sports camp and the first of its kind on the East Coast.

Serving as a counselor and mentor for the camp further cemented my desire to contribute to the lives of others.

Since that time, I’ve tirelessly pursued opportunities to advocate on behalf of all persons with disabilities and to bridge gaps so individuals without disabilities can help be part of crafting holistic solutions to provide equal opportunities for all.

In 2014, I was appointed by then Governor Dannel P. Malloy as the Governor’s Liaison to the Disability Community, a cabinet-level position and first position of its kind in the history of the state of Connecticut.

In this role, I focused on key elements and issues in the areas of employment, housing, education and transportation on behalf of the Disability Community. During my time in that role, I helped create and re-vitalize various working groups and committees to focus on the needs of the disability community, such as Chair of the Governor’s Committee on Employment for Persons with Disabilities and Co-Chair of the Developmental Disabilities Working Group, in addition to helping push through several key pieces of legislation.

As the current Executive Assistant to the Commissioner of the Department of Aging and Disability Services, I have been appointed to several task forces and committees including a Transportation Task Force raising issues on behalf of the aging and disability communities, the Police Transparency and Accountability Task Force under which I Chaired a Sub-Committee on Improving Police Interactions with the Disability Community. I was also appointed to the Police Officers Standards and Training Council under which I serve as a member of both the Curriculum and Accreditation Sub-Committees. Other appointments include to the Vision Zero Council created to develop a state-wide policy and interagency approach to eliminate all transportation-related deaths and severe injuries to pedestrians, bicyclists, transit users, motorists and passengers, and a Hate Crimes Advisory Council to provide the perspective of the Disability Community.

Dedicated to volunteerism in many capacities, I served as a member of the West Hartford Advisory Commission for Persons with Disabilities, a former Chair of the West Hartford Democratic Town Committee, a founding member and current President of the Board of Directors of the Miracle League of Connecticut, and a member of the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Task Force for the Playhouse on Park in West Hartford.

I’m grateful to know my story has been an inspiration to many people, and I will continue to endeavor to help motivate and educate others. I hope you want to join me on this journey!