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Date archive for: October 2015

Become A Citizen Journalist

Washington, Oct. 30 – As The RespectAbility Report continues to track all of the presidential candidates’ statements on disability issues, we are asking for our readers’ help. Since our staff is small, we need you to ask the candidates to talk about these important issues that are often not discussed by mainstream media.

It’s simple. People with disabilities (PwDs) and their families and friends who attend an event with a presidential candidate and get us video of the candidate answering or addressing a question on disability issues will receive $100.

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Sanders: Change Marijuana Classification, Allow Medical Research

Washington, Oct. 29 – Presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders is the first presidential candidate to call for removing marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act – a list of the most dangerous drugs outlawed by the federal government. This would allow states to legalize recreational marijuana. Possibly even more importantly, this also would mean medical researchers could test marijuana for a variety of medical issues including epilepsy. Currently this is illegal under federal law.

“The time is long overdue for us to remove the federal prohibition on marijuana,” the self-described “democratic socialist” senator from Vermont said at a town hall at George Mason University. “States should have the right to regulate marijuana the same way that state and local laws now govern the sale of alcohol and tobacco. And among other things that means that recognized businesses in states that have legalized marijuana should be fully able to use the banking system without fear of federal prosecution.”

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Kasich Touts Record as Job Creator

Boulder, Oct. 29 – Republican presidential hopeful John Kasich wasted no time in attacking his opponents and emphasizing his economic record as governor of Ohio during last night’s CNBC debate.

In his opening statement, Kasich was quick to argue that his opponents’ talk of “getting rid of Medicare and Medicaid” was “fantasy.” He said that Washington needs such qualities as “hard work,” “fiscal discipline,” and “creativity” –  qualities he claims to have had during his career as a congressman and governor.

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Trump Perpetuates Stigma around Mental Health with Talk of “Sickos”

Boulder, Oct. 29 – In campaign events across the country, Donald Trump has been quick to use the word “stupid” when talking about the perceived incompetence of political leaders. He has also been quick to emphasize his view that those who are mentally ill are likely to carry out violent gun acts.

At last night’s CNBC Republican primary debate, Trump said gun-free zones are “target practice for the sickos and for the mentally ill.” 

Trump also said he would support lifting gun restrictions at his properties and that he has a gun permit. “I think gun-free zones are a catastrophe, they’re a feeding frenzy for sick people,” he said.

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To Save Medicare, Huckabee Says Fight Chronic Disease

Boulder, Oct. 29 – In an effort to stand out on the crowded stage of the CNBC Republican debate, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee offered a different perspective on addressing income inequality and the cost of Medicare.

“We need to be focusing on what fixes this country,” the presidential hopeful said. “Instead of cutting benefits for old people, cutting benefits for sick people, why don’t we say ‘let’s cure the four big cost-driving diseases?’”

Huckabee identified diabetes, heart disease, cancer and Alzheimer’s as critical conditions affecting our country and in need of action.

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Jeb: Workforce Participation Rates Lower Than in 1977

Boulder, Oct. 29 – With the American economy in focus at last night’s CNBC debate, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush connected dysfunction in Washington with decreasing workforce participation rates and the continuing need for optimism.

When asked about his challenging race, Bush emphasized his belief that “the great majority of…Americans believe in a hopeful future.” He then focused on the continuing challenges facing millions of people working only part-time and living in poverty.

“They’re concerned that Washington is so dysfunctional it is holding them back,” Bush said. “There are lids on people’s aspirations. Think about it: six and a half million people working part-time. Workforce participation rates lower than they were in 1977.”

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O’Malley On “Dignity of Work” for People with Disabilities

Boulder, Oct. 28 – While the night’s spotlight was shining on the CNBC Republican Primary Debate, Democratic presidential hopeful Martin O’Malley walked along the paths of the University of Colorado at Boulder campus. In a conversation with The RespectAbility Report, the former governor of Maryland said, “people with disabilities labor under a disproportionally high unemployment rate.”

These comments reflect the economic challenge and harsh reality facing our nation’s 21 million working-age people with disabilities. 321,409 Marylanders between the ages of 18 and 64 have a disability. Of that number, just four out of 10 are currently employed.

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Graham: Count Me In For Medical Marijuana

Washington, Oct. 28 – One topic sure to come up during tonight’s CNBC debate is marijuana legalization. Colorado, the location of the debate, has legalized marijuana. Many of the Republican candidates already have come on the record if they support this or not – often supporting because they support states’ rights to make the decision – or opposing because of the belief that federal law should dictate this.

The night before the debate, Sen. Lindsay Graham played bartender and conducted an interview as the inaugural guest at CNN’s “Politics on Tap” happy hour at the Walnut Brewery in Boulder, the location of tonight’s debate.

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Hillary Clinton: Treatment, not Jail Time, for Mentally Ill

Washington, Oct. 27 – Sec. Hillary Clinton pledged to help people with mental health problems get assistance, not jail time, when asked by a young boy named Chris of the National Action Network (NAN) Youth Huddle.

“Can you fix the prison problems?” Chris, who is in a program for youth interested in making their voices heard through community service and youth advocacy, asked. “When people go to jail because they’re mentally ill and they hurt somebody, how come they just go straight to jail and don’t get checked out first?”

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Clinton: Can’t Forget Quieter Problems Like Autism & Mental Illness

Washington, Oct. 26 – The last time all of the democratic candidates addressed a dinner in Iowa, none of them talked about rights for people with disabilities. Three months later, and the tide has turned.

“While we fight for a growth and fairness economy that works for everyone, we can’t forget the quieter problems that don’t often make the headlines,” Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton said at the annual Jefferson-Jackson Dinner at Hy-Vee Hall in Des Moines Saturday night.

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Bush Listens, Learns About Autism Needs

Washington, Oct. 25 – When Gov. Jeb Bush was yelled at for not helping the developmentally disabled by a mom of a child with autism, the then-gubernatorial candidate said, “teach me.”

“She didn’t know me but … she was mad at me,” Bush said at LIBRE Initiative’s policy forum series at the College of Southern Nevada in North Las Vegas last Wednesday.

Bush was gearing up for his second run for governor in 1998 when he met Berthy Aponte, a Colombian American who had a 14-year-old daughter with autism and “severe developmental disabilities.”

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Webb Campaign Invites #PwDs to Attend Debate

Las Vegas, Oct. 16 – At this week’s Democratic primary presidential debate, the Webb campaign invited several people with disabilities to attend as their guests. According to the campaign, they wanted to offer the tickets to people who would normally not have the opportunity to attend such an event. 

“I have no words to express my excitement at the debate,” Martha Mosher, who had polio as a child, said. “I had a blast!”

Mosher, who works as an administrative assistant with Nevada’s Bureau of Vocational Rehabilitation, thanked the Webb campaign for their generosity.

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Clinton Signs I Love You to Supporters

Las Vegas, Oct. 14 – Following the Democratic primary debate, Hillary Clinton greeted supporters at a watch party held at the Wynn Casino and Hotel. Also present – an ASL interpreter.

“So I requested, to provide an interpreter,” Sean Mohan, founder of the Clark County Deaf Democratic Caucus (CCDDC), said. “Of course, under the ADA law, they’re required to provide an interpreter.”

The day before the debate, Clinton Campaign Advisor Colleen Loper attended a briefing with RespectAbility where participants discussed how to make campaign events and websites more accessible for all people. The lessons learned were put into practice.

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Campaign Manager: Sanders Believes PwDs Should Participate in Mainstream Society

Las Vegas, Oct. 14 – Sen. Bernie Sanders Campaign Manager Jeff Weaver called his candidate strong for people with disabilities.

“Sen. Sanders has a strong record supporting people with disabilities and helping people with disabilities participate to the maximum extent possible in many streams of society,” Weaver said in an interview with The RespectAbility Report following the Democratic primary debate. “So I think you’ll see he has a strong record. I think this will be a focus of his. His outlook on the world is that all Americans should be able to participate in our society to the maximum extent possible. And he’s committed to that.”

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Would Webb’s Stance on Affirmative Action Hurt People with Disabilities?

Las Vegas, Oct. 14 – This year our nation celebrates the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act. This landmark legislation has opened opportunities for all individuals to more openly participate in society, including access to employment. There is one population, however, that continues to remain unemployed and underemployed at greater rates than other populations – people with disabilities. In order to initiate more hiring and employment opportunities in the federal government, the Obama Administration implemented several requirements, including:

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O’Malley: Focus on Job Training & Placement to Help People with Disabilities

Las Vegas, Oct. 14 – Job training and placements will help more people with disabilities gain successful employment, Gov. Martin O’Malley told The RespectAbility Report following the Democratic primary debate.

“When I was governor of Maryland, we saw the appalling level of unemployment among our neighbors and people with disabilities,” O’Malley said in the spin room at the Wynn Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.  “So we had a program … and we focused on training. We focused on placement, because we believe that in our state, there’s no such thing as a spare American. And the more we can involve all of our citizens more fully in the economic life of our state, the better we would do.”

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Chafee: Workforce Immersion for Disability Community

Las Vegas, Oct. 14 – Gov. Lincoln Chafee is proud of his time working to help people with disabilities while serving as governor of Rhode Island.

“As governor, I came in at the depths of the recession and we turned my state around,” Chafee said during the opening statements of the CNN Democratic Presidential Debate in Las Vegas Tuesday night. “Rhode Island had the biggest drop of the unemployment rate over my four budgets of all but one state.”

“We worked hard at workforce immersion and work for the disability community,” Chafee said in an interview with The RespectAbility Report following the debate.

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RespectAbility Hosts Debate Watching Party and Tweet Up

Rockville, Md., Oct. 13 – RespectAbility hosted the first of many debate watch parties at our new offices in Rockville, Md. Members of the disability community and other community leaders joined together to enjoy a night of networking over pizza and watching episodes of West Wing while waiting for the debate to begin.

RespectAbility staff and guests tweeted about the important issues candidates raised concerning the disability community. While disability issues were not a leading topic during the first Democratic primary debate, some important discussions revolved around both disabled veterans and mental health issues.

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Steve Wynn: Business Magnate, Casino Owner and Person with a Disability

Las Vegas, Oct. 13 – Tonight, the nation gathers to watch the Democratic Presidential Debate take place at the Wynn Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. While the focus is on the candidates, there is another deserving of a share of the spotlight. That person is none other than the Wynn’s owner, Steve Wynn.  Wynn’s name is synonymous with glittering and opulent towers, high stakes, and business success. What you may not know about him is that he also happens to be a person with a disability.

Wynn, age 71, is vision impaired because of retinitis pigmentosa. Like others with this condition, Mr. Wynn’s peripheral vision has been impacted and with it, his interactions with the world around him. While you won’t find much about it on Wikipedia, Wynn has never let his vision differences keep him from reshaping the world around him. His name, his image, and his success have had a huge impact on the world of casinos and the hospitality industry.

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Presidential Candidates: Don’t Forget People with Disabilities

Las Vegas, Oct. 13 – Tonight the Democratic candidates for president will debate each other for the first time this season. While many minority groups are sure to be discussed, America’s largest minority group, people with disabilies (PwDs) is an important group to pay attention to.

America has 56 million people with disabilities, more than 20 million of whom are working age. Polls show that the majority of voters either have a disability or a loved one with a disability. Voters with disabilities and their families are up for grabs — and the actions that campaigns take to reach out to these voters can make the difference between winning and losing. Indeed, 357,035 people in Nevada, the location of the debate, have disabilities. Of that number, 171,600 are working age. Only 39.2 percent are employed compared with 73.1 percent of people without disabilities in Nevada. Among Nevadans with disabilities, 8,200 are between the ages of 16 and 20. Each year at least 2,050 young people with disabilities are aging out of the school system.

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