While stumping through Southbend, Indiana, on April 28, presidential candidate Hillary Clinton toured AM General’s commercial assembly plant, where the wheelchair accessible MV-1 is manufactured. There, she met Erika Bogan, a single mom of three girls and wheelchair user, who demonstrated the vehicle for her.
“Hillary was very warm and engaged and interested in what I had to say, especially after I told my personal story about how the MV-1 changed my life,” says Bogan, a spokesperson for the MV-1. A former Ms. Wheelchair America, Bogan became a T11-12 incomplete para in 2002. “I’m a single mother and so being able to get my children independently in and out of the vehicle is wonderful,” she says.
Bogan worked for the company since 2013 and has been an enthusiastic owner of her own MV-1 for the past two years.
“I showed Hillary how the ramp works, then rolled up into the vehicle and showed her why there is no passenger seat, since that space is intended for a wheelchair user,” says Bogan. “She was impressed and grateful to know there is a vehicle like this that’s been produced right here in America.” The MV-1 is built to be universally accessible from the ground up — the only vehicle of its type right now.
AM General Spokesman Jeff Adams thinks Clinton was almost as taken with Bogan as she was with the MV-1. “When Hillary arrived, a large gathering of media and a big crowd gathered in one of our assembly areas,” says Adams. “Prior to getting on stage we gave her a tour and she talked to people on the line, asked about their jobs, but when she stopped at the actual MV-1 that was there on the line with Erica sitting next to it, she spent more time with Erica than anyone else there. They talked about the vehicle, and Erica’s story,” he says.