Nevada autism coalition slams Gibbons’ adviser for comment |

Nevada autism coalition slams Gibbons’ adviser for comment

The Associate Press

An advocacy group for autistic children and their families criticized Gov. Jim Gibbons’ campaign adviser on Tuesday for referring to first ladies as “window dressing.”

The founder of the Autism Coalition of Nevada issued a statement, calling comments made to a newspaper by campaign adviser Robert Olmer “demeaning” and “sexist.”

Hours after a judge on Monday approved a divorce settlement between the governor and Dawn Gibbons, Olmer told a Reno newspaper that not having a first lady in the governor’s mansion won’t be an issue, because any first lady “is to a large extent window dressing.”

A Gibbons’ spokesman said the governor disagreed with the statement. Olmer later said his remark was not directed at Nevada’s first lady.

“She has been a great proponent to various charities,” Olmer told KRNV-TV in Reno on Tuesday. “I certainly didn’t mean anything negative toward Dawn.”

Coalition founder Ralph Toddre said Dawn Gibbons championed the rights of those afflicted with autism and campaigned to raise awareness and sought funding for autism.

“To say that she is ‘window dressing’ could not be further from the truth and an awful way to paint the accomplishments of this first lady in the time she spent in that position,” Toddre said.

He praised both Dawn Gibbons and the governor, who signed a bill mandating insurance coverage for autism treatment, for their support and efforts.