Cleveland, August 8 – Republican presidential hopeful Chris Christie is “trying to get people back into the workforce,” Mike DuHaime, the governor’s chief political strategist, said to The RespectAbility Report following the Fox News Debate Thursday evening. Read his entire interview:
Q: For the one in five Americans with a disability, what is the message that Gov. Christie carries for them? Why should they vote for him?
DuHaime: Well, certainly Gov. Christie is someone who worked hard in New Jersey as governor. He’s got a record working for and with people with disabilities. Certainly he’s done the right thing in terms of funding and doing things for programs. He’s got a record that backs up working with the community and fighting for them, so I think that will play out over time, probably, if we didn’t have any question on that at the debate tonight. He’s certainly gotten questions on it at town halls in New Hampshire. I think you continue to see that and he’ll articulate that.
Q: What kind of questions are you getting on that in New Hampshire?
DuHaime: Very similar to the question you had. Broad question if you will, at least the ones I’ve seen. I have not been to every town hall. The questions that I’ve seen are similarly broad to yours, which is like what are you doing? In New Jersey, they’ve had very specific ones on specific disabilities and also in terms of funding and also the conversation has a very wide spectrum. So he certainly dealt with it in many ways. In New Jersey they’ve been very specific. Recently he’s had over 130 town hall meetings, a lot of questions about how the state budget affect people with disabilities, all types of disabilities. The presidential town hall has been much more general.
Q: So most people with disabilities are looking for jobs. In New Jersey, about 75 percent* of people with disabilities that are working age are not in the workforce. Do you know if his jobs plan in America includes people with disabilities?
DuHaime: I don’t know if there is a link on it on the website, but it is certainly something that he would do and certainly has done in New Jersey. Trying to get people back into the workforce and he’s done that in New Jersey. I’m sure he’s doing that as president as well.
Q: Thank you very much.
*Correction: Mizrahi mispoke. Thirty-six percent of people with disabilities who are working-age in New Jersey are in the workforce. See New Jersey Jobs for more complete facts.