Skip to content

Date archive for: November 2015

Donald Trump’s Attacks on People with Disabilities

Washington, Nov. 28 – By publicly poking fun at an award-winning reporter who has significant physical disabilities, Republican frontrunner Donald Trump expanded stigmas that have been undermining people with disabilities for ages. 

It’s now been more than 25 years since the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). True, physical architecture and some educational opportunities thankfully have changed. But negative attitudes and stigmas about people with disabilities – because of people like Donald Trump – have not. This leads to poverty, powerlessness and even worse situations for people with disabilities.

read more

Huckabee Expanded Accessibility of Arkansas State Capitol, Encourages People with Disabilities to Examine His Record

Des Moines, Nov. 25 – Presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee said people with disabilities could “look at his record” and be comforted.

“I’ve been very supportive of the ADA (Americans With Disabilities Act) in my own state,” the former governor of Arkansas said following the Presidential Family Forum Friday night. “When we did renovations to the governor’s mansion, we made it accessible to the disabled. We did the same thing in the state capitol.”

In March 2000, Huckabee was one of four governors who wrote U.S. Senate leaders urging Congress to fully fund 40 percent of Part B services as authorized by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA.)  The letter noted the federal government’s contribution then amounted to only 13 percent, and “although Governors strongly support providing the necessary services and support to help all students succeed, the costs associated with implementing IDEA are placing an increased burden on states.”

read more

Santorum Values Dignity & Contributions of People with Disabilities, Seeks Engagement in Political Process

Des Moines, Nov. 24 – “We have a little girl with a severe disability and we treasure her,” former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum said following the Presidential Family Forum on Friday.

“We believe she’s every bit as important a member of our family and contributing to society as any one of our kids,” the presidential hopeful said. “She does it in a different way, but it’s no less a valuable way. I think the big thing is to recognize contributions don’t come down just to dollars and cents, they come down to a lot of different things – and to respect that and to make sure that we can maximize that.”

read more

Cruz Supports Empowering People with Disabilities to Live Independently

Des Moines, Nov. 23 – “People with disabilities want independence,” Sen. Ted Cruz said to The RespectAbility Report.

“They don’t want to be dependent on government,” the presidential hopeful added. “There are many programs that provide, but sometimes trap people in dependency.”

Fully one-in-five Americans have a disability and polls show that most of them want to work. Yet 70 percent of working-age Americans with disabilities are outside of the workforce.

read more

Trump Commits To More Jobs & Better Health Care For Veterans, People With Disabilities

Newton, Iowa, Nov. 20 – Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump said, “I will” when asked if he is committed to getting more veterans and people with disabilities employed.

“You gotta give them hope, build their spirit,” Trump said during a town hall Thursday night in Newton, IA. “The unemployment numbers don’t tell the whole story.”

More than 80 percent of people with disabilities are not employed, according to the U.S Department of Labor. Though the unemployment rate for people with disabilities remains listed at 10.5 percent, as it does not count those who have given up looking for work. Nearly 60 percent of people without disabilities are employed, with the unemployment rate currently at 4.6 percent for people without disabilities.

read more

Sanders Supports Affordable Healthcare Allowing People To Live And Work

Des Moines, Nov. 17 – At a roundtable with family caregivers and medical experts, presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders listened to Iowans talk about how both retirees needing additional help and working age people with disabilities who choose to work may lose coverage for personal care attendants under Medicaid and Medicare – trapping them in a lose-lose situation with this barrier to work.

When The RespectAbility Report’s Justin Chappell asked how a President Sanders would be a voice for the 70 percent of unemployed people with disabilities nationwide and 55 percent in Iowa, Sanders acknowledged that this is an important issue that he needs to learn more about.

read more

Clinton Reaffirms Commitment to be Strong Voice for People with Disabilities

Des Moines, Nov. 17 – Presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton pledged to be a strong voice for people with disabilities.

“This has been a strong concern and priority of mine,” Clinton said in an exclusive interview with The RespectAbility Report immediately following the Democratic presidential debate in Iowa Saturday night.

The former Secretary of State’s first job out of law school was with the Children’s Defense Fund, where she worked to pass the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) after discovering parents were not sending their children to school because schools did not accommodate children with disabilities. She often references this work on the campaign trail when asked about people with disabilities.

read more

Sanders: 500,000 Veterans Have PTSD, Brain Injuries

Des Moines, Nov. 15 – The second Democratic presidential debate began with a focus on American foreign policy and military involvement in the Middle East.

Presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders interrupted the conversation, pivoting to veterans’ affairs – causing criticism to grow that he lacks the international affairs experience needed to be presidient.

Yet, with this comment, Sanders was the only candidate to remotely bring up anything related to people with disabilities.

“When you talk about the long-term consequences of war, let’s talk about the men and women who came home from war – the 500,000 who came home with PTSD and traumatic brain injury,” the senator from Vermont said. “And I would hope that in the midst of all of this discussion, this country makes certain that we do not turn our backs on the men and women who put their lives on the line to defend us. And that we stand with them as they have stood with us.”

read more

O’Malley Promotes Record Of Support For Workforce Training, Best Practices

Des Moines, Nov. 15 – Maryland increased its effectiveness of its workforce training programs, presidential hopeful Martin O’Malley said of his time as Maryland’s governor.

“I learned as governor the very disparate  way, that people with disabilities are kept out of our workforce, and so as governor we actually increased and improved on the effectiveness on our workforce training programs, especially as they relate to people with disabilities,” O’Malley said in an exclusive interview with The RespectAbility Report following the CBS Democratic presidential primary debate.

read more

“Nothing About Us, Without Us”

Des Moines, Nov. 14 – I’m Justin Chappell, The RespectAbility Report’s newest reporter. I’m covering the CBS Democratic debate this evening along with hundreds of other journalists from around the country. To my knowledge, I’m the only reporter here who uses a wheelchair – and glad to be keeping with our community’s motto of “nothing about us, without us.”

I’ll be based here in Des Moines for next couple of weeks for The RespectAbility Report, covering the presidential candidates and asking them about critical issues important to our community. Throughout the 2016 election season, I’ll be working with disability activists throughout the country to mobilize our community in the policial process.

read more

Sanders Campaign to Focus on Caregiving for People with Disabilities

Des Moines, Nov. 14 – Sen. Bernie Sanders’ campaign is focusing on caregivers and assistance for people with disabilities this month, according to Bruce Koeppl, a senior advisor for the campaign who is based in Iowa.

“That’s what you can look for this weekend as we begin to unroll some additional issues. Sunday we will be having the panel on caregiving. Soon we will be going out and doing coffee with aging advocates around Medicaid, Social Security, caregiving. So it’s going to be an important issue for him this fall as we get into the caucuses.”

read more

Ahead of Dem Debate, A Look at Clinton’s Dedication to Disability Issues

Des Moines, Nov. 14 – While presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton had a shaky start with outreach to the disability community, recently she has talked about issues such as autism and treatments for mental illness. In addition, her campaign website has a page dedicated to disability issues and campaign staffers are beginning to pay attention to accessibility needs at events.

At a meeting with Iowa disability leaders yesterday, Clinton’s Iowa Constituency Director Brenda Kole reiterated Clinton’s commitment to the disability community.

read more

“Dignity for people who are disabled”

Des Moines, Nov. 14 – Ahead of tonight’s Democratic debate, all of the Democratic campaigns in addition to two Republican campaigns met with twenty disability leaders in Iowa yesterday. Ben Chou, Martin O’Malley’s Constituency Outreach Director in Iowa, said the former governor is a champion for dignity for all people.

“Dignity for people who are disabled,” Chou emphasized following the meeting. “There are hazards for them when they are going to try and find a job, or whether they are at work and some sort of situation happens. These are the type of hazards, that the state, the city, your government should be responsible for.”

read more

Beyond Just Celebrating the Day – Caring for All Veterans

Washington, Nov. 11 – As the nation celebrates Veterans Day, it is important to truly remember our veterans and ensure we are taking care of their needs.

One of their top priorities is employment. Government policies that help veterans with disabilities get and keep jobs are a win-win because they allow veterans the dignity and financial benefits of work and also grow our economy and save taxpayer money.

RespectAbility, along with several partners including Paralyzed Veterans of America, developed a resource called the Disability Employment First Planning Tool. This document details those practices and the most-effective models. If the Workforce Innovation and Opportunities Act, which was recently signed into law, is put into place thoughtfully, it will help to reduce the government’s expenditure on SSI benefits, while enabling veterans with disabilities with the opportunity to become independent and achieve the American dream.

read more

Rubio: End Stigma Surrounding Vocational Education

Washington, Nov. 11 – While disability issues were not discussed during last night’s debate, Republican hopeful Marco Rubio brought up a very important topic – the stigma attached to vocational training as an alternative to traditional college.

“For the life of me, I don’t know why we have stigmatized vocational education,” the Senator from Florida said. “Welders make more money than philosophers. We need more welders and less philosophers.”

Many journalists from The Washington Post to Slate focused on the second half of the statement, showing that Rubio is wrong and “philosophy majors make way more than welders.”

read more

Carson Calls for Bold Reform of VA

Washington, Nov. 11 – Today, our nation observes Veterans’ Day. It is a moment for our country to pause and celebrate the brave men and women who have served in the Armed Forces. This date also is an opportunity to discuss the way our nation cares for veterans.

In 2014, multiple scandals brought the harsh light of public scrutiny to the system of care provided to veterans through the Department of Veterans Affairs. Earlier this year, former neurosurgeon and Republican presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson weighed in on the challenges facing the VA. As Carson pushes ahead in the polls to becoming a GOP’s frontrunner, it is important to examine what the doctor has said about caring for our nation’s veterans.

read more

People with Disabilities Twice as Likely to Live in Poverty

Washington, Nov. 11 – When FOX Business Network’s Maria Bartiromo asked former Gov. Jeb Bush about unemployed Americans seeking a job or who have stopped looking, the Republican presidential hopeful listed off a few ways he’d attempt to drive the economy back to four percent growth.

“The reason why we have structural deficits is that more and more people are relying on government and the growth that we don’t have makes — makes the deficit grow,” he said during the Fox Business Network – Wall Street Journal debate.

read more

Santorum: Focus on Job Training

Washington, Nov. 11 – In the undercard debate, the Republican presidential hopefuls were asked how they would get America back to work again. One after another, they dodged the question and said they would reduce taxes.

However, when Sen. Rick Santorum answered the question, he focused instead on job skills.

“We have to start doing something about training and employing people who are sitting on the sidelines because they don’t see a path,” the presidential hopeful said. “People need to go to work and we need to provide opportunities for them to go to work out of high school.”

read more

Clinton: “I Do Support the Use of Medical Marijuana”

Washington, Nov. 9 – Hillary Clinton announced support for medical research of marijuana. She is the latest of the three Democratic presidential hopefuls to do so.

While Clinton had previously declined to endorse legalized medical or recreational marijuana at the federal level, on Saturday she detailed a proposal to increase research of medical marijuana.

Clinton said she supports removing marijuana from the schedule 1 list, which includes a group of drugs that are prohibited from federally-sponsored research. Currently, marijuana, as a schedule 1 drug, is considered to be among the federal Drug Enforcement Agency’s most dangerous drugs.

read more

Canada Appoints Two People with Disabilities to Cabinet

Washington, Nov. 5 – When Canada’s new prime minister, Justin Trudeau, was sworn into office on Wednesday, he revealed his diverse cabinet. Many news outlets are reporting how 50 percent of the cabinet ministers are women, helping to make it the most diverse cabinet Canada has ever seen. But it is not just because of the 15 women.

In Trudeau’s words, it’s a diverse cabinet “that looks like Canada.”

Among the new ministers, two have disabilities.

Kent Hehr, Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence, was paralyzed after being shot as a bystander in a drive-by shooting when he was 21. As a result, he has been a quadriplegic since 1991. In response to a high suicide rate among veterans returning from war, Hehr said veterans would be treated with compassion by the new government. He also focuses on gun violence and LGBT rights.

read more