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Date archive for: December 2015

Clinton to Unveil Autism Plan, Remove Stigma on Mental Illness

Washington, Dec. 31 – Presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton announced she will be unveiling an autism plan, making her the first candidate to do so.

“I’m actually rolling out a plan about autism in about a week, where I talk about all the different things that we need to do to try to support families and people who are diagnosed as on the autism spectrum,” Clinton said Tuesday in Portsmouth, NH.

When a young boy, whose dad works with people with developmental disabilities and has an uncle with autism, asked the former Secretary of State how she would help people with disabilities, she talked about her work with the Children’s Defense Fund.

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On the Campaign Trail with a Wheelchair

Washington, Dec. 30 – I’m Justin Chappell, one of The RespectAbility Report’s newest reporters. I also have Spina bifida, and, as a result, use a wheelchair. But this does not limit me. There are negative stigmas out there that discriminate against people with disabilities. But these stigmas are inaccurate and I live a very full life. Today I own my own place, am married to the love of my life, and now, on behalf of RespectAbility, I am interviewing presidential candidates!

The RespectAbility Report is a new online publication sponsored by the nonprofit disability rights and opportunity group RespectAbility. Our publisher, Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi, worked at Campaigns & Elections magazine and had a newspaper column for many years. Our editor, Lauren Appelbaum, has advanced degrees in journalism and worked in NBC News’ political unit with Chuck Todd and Andrea Mitchell.

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Rubio Pledges to Address Disability Stigma Head-On

Littleton, NH, Dec. 29 – Sen. Marco Rubio said he would use “the platform of the presidency” to talk about disabilities in order to reduce stigma around mental illness and other disabilities.

“There’s a real stigma about mental illness in America,” the presidential hopeful said in Littleton, N.H., last week. “There still remains some level of shame; there still remains some denial about it in many families.”

“You know, I don’t know any family that hasn’t been impacted by it, and I think we need to remove that. We need to explain to people that mental illness is a disease, not unlike any other disease. That in some cases can be cured and managed and in other cases it’s something we’ll have to live with chronically for the rest of your lives, and we should do things to help people deal with that.”

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Rep. Victoria Sullivan on Rand Paul’s Record on Disabilities

Manchester, NH, Dec. 28 – Sen. Rand Paul stresses the importance of providing employment opportunities for people with disabilities, according to campaign surrogate Rep. Victoria Sullivan.

Sullivan, who was attending a briefing organized by RespectAbility on the disability vote on behalf of the Paul campaign last week, said Pauls’ plan includes “aligning their special talents and needs up with employers,” so employers can use those unique talents in the workplace. “I do know that it is something of concern to him.”

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O’Malley’s Son: Mission for Father to Include People with Different Obstacles in Economy

Manchester, NH, Dec. 28 – At a briefing organized by RespectAbility last week on the disability vote, several campaigns sent their New Hampshire state directors and other representatives. Gov. Martin O’Malley sent two individuals – his N.H. State Director John Bivona and his son William, who was in town for the Democratic primary debate a few days earlier.

O’Malley is just one of three campaigns, along with the Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush campaigns, to have met with RespectAbility in all of its state-specific meetings in Iowa, New Hampshire and Nevada – showing that he is interested in having a strong relationship with disability groups.

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Christie: Put Work First, Above Any Other Options

Pelham, NH, Dec. 28 – “We want to use the government involvement to encourage employers to put work first, above any other options,” Gov. Chris Christie said following a town hall at the Veterans of Foreign Wars building in Pelham, N.H. last week.

During his speech, the presidential hopeful said Americans were not able to pursue happiness due to a lack of economic and employment opportunities. Asked to address this issue specifically for people with disabilities, Christie discussed how New Jersey is one of 17 to be an Employment First state.

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Rubio Promotes Early Intervention, Education for Children with Disabilities

Rochester, NH, Dec. 23 – Sen. Marco Rubio stressed the importance of early intervention and education when asked on Monday how he would help people with disabilities achieve employment success and the American Dream by RespectAbility Fellow James Trout, who has Asperger’s syndrome.

“You get those first few years – if a child does not receive the therapy and care that they need, their chances of being functional dramatically reduce,” Rubio said during a town hall at the Governor’s Inn in Rochester, N.H., on Monday. “It is that quick intervention that is very critical.”

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Kasich: Fully Integrate People with Disabilities in Employment

Concord, NH, Dec. 23 – Ohio Gov. John Kasich called for full integration of people with disabilities during a town hall in Concord, NH, on Monday evening.

“The answer is real simple,” Kasich said when asked how people with disabilities can get out of the shadows and live the American Dream. “We should try to fully integrate people to the level of their ability. We’re doing that in Ohio now. We’re not going to ignore anybody. I mean we’re just not going to do that as a country. I don’t care who you are. We’re going to give you a chance to rise.”

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O’Malley: Identify Best Practices to Increase Employment of People with Disabilities

Manchester, NH, Dec. 22 – Former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley called for identifying best practices when asked to address the large unemployment numbers for people with disabilities.

“We need to lift up the best practices state by state and do a better job as a nation in seeding, feeding and supporting those best practices that connect our neighbors with disabilities to gain full employment,” O’Malley said during a townhall Sunday at American Legion Sweeney Post 2 in Manchester, New Hampshire.

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Bush Goes on the Offensive, Defends People with Disabilities

Contoocook, NH, Dec. 20 – Former Gov. Jeb Bush stood up for people with disabilities at a town hall meeting in Contoocook, NH, on Saturday against remarks made by Republican candidate Donald Trump.

“I think the great opportunity in this country goes back to the idea that everyone has value, everyone can make a difference.”

News reports highlight how Bush was asked by a man with Asperger’s Syndrome about what he would do to improve education and employment for Americans with disabilities.

The former governor of Florida highlighted his role to transform the state’s Medicaid waiver program into “a model for the rest of the country.”

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Drug addiction takes center stage at third Democratic debate

Manchester, NH, Dec. 20 – The third Democratic presidential debate touched on a topic often overlooked among the myriad of issues candidates face at debates – drug addiction, in particular the growing heroin epidemic in New Hampshire and across the country.

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders called the epidemic a “tragedy all over the country,” and former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley said, “it’s a huge public health challenge.”

Sanders pointed out that we “need to understand that addiction is a disease, not a criminal activity.”

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On Santorum’s Statement on ISIS Fatwa Condemning Children with Disabilities to Death

Washington, Dec. 16 – Foreign affairs, terrorism and ISIS dominated the conversation throughout both of last night’s Republican primary debates. During Rick Santorum’s closing statement, however, the former senator called out ISIS for killing kids with Down Syndrome and brought up his daughter Bella, who has trisomy 18.

“Ladies and gentlemen, this week, ISIS put out a fatwa on disabled children and killed dozens of them because of their disability,” the presidential hopeful said. “Now, I am the father of a disabled child.”

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Bush Talks Education, Jobs for People with Disabilities

Washington, Dec. 12 – Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush said in order to help people with disabilities achieve the American Dream through access to appropriate education and employment, you must include people with disabilities in the decision process.

“One of the things I insisted on was that people with disabilities had to participate in the accountability system,” Bush said in an exclusive interview with a coalition of disability groups including RespectAbility, Paralyzed Veterans of America and the National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities. “If you exclude them, then that result is they don’t get the attention.”

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Santorum: Use Presidential Bully Pulpit to Expand Job Opportunities for People with Disabilities

Washington, Dec. 12 – In an exclusive interview with a coalition of disability groups including RespectAbility, Paralyzed Veterans of America and the National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities, Sen. Rick Santorum defended his opposition to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities U.N. treaty and talked about his daughter Bella, who has trisomy 18, as his inspiration for helping people with disabilities obtain jobs and live fully in society.

“Everybody has potential and that, we as a society, have to work to integrate people to make sure that there’s opportunities for people to rise in society,” Santorum said.

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Huckabee Calls for Full Integration of Disability Community in Employment and Education

Washington, Dec. 12 – In an exclusive interview, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee stressed the need to employ people with disabilities, calling people who are blind, deaf and with physical disabilities his “best staff members.” The presidential hopeful also talked about inclusion in the educational setting in the interview with a coalition of disability groups including RespectAbility, Paralyzed Veterans of America and the National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities.

“People who may have a disability still have a lot of abilities,” Huckabee said. “And they should be employed. They should have the opportunity to use the skills that they have, often are extraordinarily useful and valuable.”

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Gilmore on Job Opportunities for People with Disabilities

Washington, Dec. 12 – Since leaving government, former Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore was named to the Board of Directors of the Alexandria, Virginia Chamber of Commerce, which recognizes businesses that hire people with disabilities. The presidential hopeful talked about this initiative as well as how he has helped people with disabilities achieve the American Dream in an exclusive interview with a coalition of disability groups including RespectAbility, Paralyzed Veterans of America and the National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities.

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Pataki: More Economic Opportunities for People with Disabilities

Washington, Dec. 12 – Former New York Gov. George Pataki discussed his experience with enforcing the Americans with Disabilities Act in New York and the use of assisted technologies to assist people who are deaf or blind in an exclusive interview with a coalition of disability groups including RespectAbility, Paralyzed Veterans of America and the National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities.

“The potentials aren’t limited by the status quo of where we are today,” Pataki said. “The potential is where we can be tomorrow and that is how government has to think.”

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Graham Pledges to Take Hands-on Approach to Help #PwDs Enter Workforce

Washington, Dec. 12 – In an exclusive interview with a coalition of disability groups including RespectAbility, Paralyzed Veterans of America and the National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities, Sen. Lindsey Graham discussed his policies to help wounded veterans and other people with disabilities achieve the American Dream by entering the workforce.

“Never make a veteran pick from the dignity of work and benefits,” Graham said. “You can work and receive benefits too.”

Read the full transcript of Sen. Lindsey Graham’s interview with The RespectAbility Report:

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​Life On the Campaign Trail

Washington, Dec. 11 – I’m Justin Chappell, The RespectAbility Report’s newest reporter. I spent the month of November with fellow disability community leaders traveling throughout Iowa, using my wheelchair in nearly nine inches of snow to interview almost every candidate for president on both sides of the aisle.

Our travels have taken us from the state capital of Des Moines to Em’s Coffee Shop in Independence as we ask the presidential candidates how they would be a voice for people with disabilities and how they plan to engage people with disabilities in the political process.

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Become A Citizen Journalist

Washington, Dec. 10 – 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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