Governor Abbott appoints five to State Independent Living Council

Staff Writer

Governor Greg Abbott has appointed Ralph E. Jones, Sr. and Mack J. Marsh, Jr. to the State Independent Living Council (SILC) and reappointed James M. “Jim” Brocato for terms set to expire Oct. 24, 2018. Additionally, the governor appointed Colton J. Read for a term set to expire Oct. 24, 2016 and Martha Bagley for a term set to expire Oct. 24, 2017. The council develops the State Plan for Independent Living and serves as a resource to state and local organizations on Independent Living and related issues for persons with disabilities.
Ralph E. Jones, Sr. of Harlingen is an author and retired licensed professional counselor and chemical dependency counselor. He is a former volunteer for the Veterans Administration Mental Health Department and Palo Alto National Battlefield Park, and served as chairman of the Rio Grande State Center Volunteer Services Center. He is honorably retired from United States Air Force after 22 years of service. Jones received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Nebraska-Omaha, master’s degree in psychology and health services management from Webster University, Masters of Education in counseling from Sul Ross State University and a doctorate in counseling psychology from Columbia Pacific University in San Rafael, California.
Mack J. Marsh, Jr. of Cedar Park is a project director for Access Empowerment, a technology development nonprofit organization. He previously served as the executive director of the Texas Association of Centers for Independent Living. Marsh attended the University of New Orleans.
James M. “Jim” Brocato of Beaumont is the executive director of the RISE Center for Independent Living. He is a member of Texas Centers for Independent Living, Texas Area Health Education Center East, Texas Health and Human Services Commission Region 5 Medicaid Advisory Board, SILC National Congress and Association of Programs for Rural Independent Living. Brocato received a bachelor’s degree in sociology and a master’s degree in human services administration from St. Edward’s University in Austin.
Colton J. Read of New Braunfels is a psychology student at Texas State University and was honorably discharged from the United States Air Force. He is a Supreme Court justice for the Texas State University Supreme Court, former board member of the Texas State Student Service Fee Board and former vice-chair of the Texas State Election Board. He is former treasurer of the Texas State Veterans Alliance, former mentor for Wounded Warrior and Wheatland ISD in California. Read graduated from Sam Houston High School in Arlington.
Martha Bagley of Austin is a program specialist for the Independent Living and Blind Children’s Vocational Discover and Development programs at the Texas Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services. She is a former member of the Southwest Society on Aging and the Association for Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind. Bagley received a Bachelor of Arts and master’s degree in sociology from Florida State University.