Kathleen Paultler

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Kathleen Pautler

Kathleen Steele Paultler is a retired disability activist.

Kathleen Paultler served as Executive Director of Niagara Frontier Center for Independent Living until 2006.[1]


Graduated from Erie Community College in 1989 with her Associates degree in Human Services/Non Profit management.[2]

AMA Disability Advisory Committee

In 2007, Kathleen Paultler signed a petition to create a Disability Advisory Committee for the American Medical Association. She commented:[3]

"It is disgraceful that the AMA does not have such a committee! It is important to have persons with disabilities from the disabiilty [sic] rights community be part of such a committee. This would allow for greater understanding and knowledge for medical professionals everywhere!
"It is so discouraging to have doctors tell us that we need to find someone who deals 'with your type of people'!"

Criticizing New York Voting Access

In 2006, Kathleen Paultler was quoted in the Niagara Gazette:

“It is a shame that New York State is the last state in the country to implement the (Help America Vote Act) the correct way,” said Kathleen Pautler, executive director of the Niagara Frontier Center for Independent Living. “Persons with disabilities have been willing to work with the New York State Board of Elections since the passage of HAVA. I feel if they had allowed us to assist them instead of excluding us, it would not have come to this.”[4]

Arrests in 2002

Below is a first-hand account from Bruce Darling about a "direct action" protest in 2002:[5]

"Some of us were able to put into practice what we learned about civil disobedience from Bob and Stephie a few days later when we went to Albany and were part of the ADAPT action there. The action turned out to be very exciting and quite effective. Our message was heard --loud and clear. For the first time we had a large crowd. In past Olmstead actions, in Albany, we never had more than 50 people. This time, because many of the (independent living) people that attended the "Our Homes Not Nursing Homes" Conference joined us, we had about 200 people. And for the first time there were arrests. Eight people were arrested, two of us from NYC - myself and Dina Niedelman (with her little dog Tiny). So the State officials now know how serious we are. We also got lots of media coverage, most of it very positive."


"Mel Tanzman, Nadina LaSpina, T.K. Small and I (Bruce Darling) went to meet with Mr. Wolner. At this point, it seems someone from the state decided to 'show us' that direct action doesn't work. Mr. Wolner didn't show up for the meeting. We waited nearly 45 minutes for him and then returned to the Health Department Tower where we instructed everyone to leave the building.
"We exited the building and lined up in the Concourse. Kathleen Paultler was shouting, 'Grab a sign. Get in Line!' as loud as she could. We began marching to the Capital. It was awesome. The line seemed to go on forever. Looking back you were struck by the large numbers of people.
"We got to the elevators that took us up into the Capital Building and a group of about a dozen people got to the first floor before the elevators were shut down. Four people had made it up to the Governor's floor by elevator when State Troupers shut it down. Nadina LaSpina (NYC), Chris Hilderbrant (Rochester), Spitfire Sabel (Philadelphia, PA), and Ann Kaplow (Rochester). Four more came up by the stairs. Dina Niedelman (NYC) crawled with assistance from Larry Fein (Buffalo). Debbie Bonomo (Rochester) was carried part of the way by Bruce Darling (Rochester) and crawled the rest. In all, eight people got up to the second floor."
"The group was waiting in the Concourse and cheered as each arrestee came out of the State Police Station. I was touched that Bonnie Shoultz was there waiting for us. We walked back to the hotel in single file where we got rooms for the extra people who stayed, including Larry and Todd Vaarwerk from Buffalo. We didn't get a meeting, but we knew we raised community awareness."