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Date archive for: February 2016

Super Tuesday Disability Voter Guide Released: Candidates Showcase Huge Differences in #PwDsVote 2016 Questionnaire

Washington, Feb. 29 – RespectAbility released its Super Tuesday Disability Vote Guide. The #PwDsVote 2016 Campaign Questionnaire was designed for people with disabilities (PwDs) and those who love them to know where candidates stand on the issues. The questionnaire asked all of the presidential candidates on both sides of the aisle to comment on 16 disability questions. Former Sec. of State Hillary Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders responded by addressing all of the questions, and have significantly different views on the issues. Dr. Ben Carson and Gov. John Kasich filled out parts of the questionnaire, and also have significantly different views. Despite numerous requests in person and by phone and email, the campaigns of Senators Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio and Republican frontrunner Donald Trump have not yet filled out the questionnaire.

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A Day in the Life of RespectAbility Reporters

Washington, Feb. 26 – Ryan Nobile and Justin Chappell are two members of the RespectAbility team who spent weeks in Iowa and New Hampshire, traveling for hours at a time to question candidates on both sides of the aisle on a variety of disability issues. Local disability leaders were invited to join us on the trail. Jane Strauss traveled from nearby Minneapolis, Minnesota to join Ryan and Justin on the trail for several days. Back in January, Jane documented her day with the duo and created this photo essay. Enjoy!

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Clinton on Voting Barriers

Washington, Feb. 24 – As the Republicans travel to Texas for their upcoming debate, one issue of concern in the state is Texas’ strict voter ID laws that prevent many people, including those with disabilities, easy access to vote.

Earlier this week, Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton pledged to tackle the “Republican assault on voting rights across the United States.”

“Here in Texas and in state after state, [Republicans are] doing everything they can to stop black people, Latinos, poor people, young people, people with disabilities from voting,” Clinton said at Texas Southern University in Houston Saturday evening following her Nevada caucus win. “It’s one of the barriers that I intend to knock down.”

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Kasich: Stand Up for Developmentally Disabled

Fairfax, Virginia, Feb. 23 – Gov. John Kasich said it’s just a matter of creating priorities in state and national government in order to help people with disabilities.

“You know what kind of lobby the developmentally disabled have?” Kasich said at a town hall in Fairfax, Virginia, on Monday. “ZERO! Zero. Somebody has to stand up for them.”

In response to a woman asking a question about the needs of her 22-year-old son on the Autism spectrum to live a fulfilling life on his own, Kasich said they have to fix the system.

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Trump Dominates Republican Field as Disability Champion Jeb Bush Exits the Race

Washington, Feb. 22 – With Donald Trumps’ easy victory in South Carolina on Saturday, he left no doubt that he is the Republican front-runner for the party’s nomination. As Trump continues to insult people – recently attacking the Pope and Apple, and previously people with disabilities – his poll numbers stay higher than the other Republican candidates. Trump continues to have a strong lead ahead of Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, who came in second and third with an effective tie in South Carolina.

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Clinton: Invest in People with Disabilities

Washington, Feb. 21 – During last night’s victory speech in Nevada, presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton addressed the disability community, pledging to ensure that they would have the same opportunities as anyone else to participate in society.

“Don’t you think it’s time to face head-on the reality of systemic racism and invest in communities that have been left out and left behind,” the former Secretary of State said at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas. “That means reforming our criminal justice system, our immigration systems, ensuring that people with disabilities have the same opportunities to work and fully participate in our society!”

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RespectAbility’s South Carolina & Nevada #PwDsVote 2016 Candidate Questionnaire and Voter Guide Released

Washington, Feb. 18 – RespectAbility released its South Carolina and Nevada update to its #PwDsVote 2016 Campaign Questionnaire for people with disabilities (PwDs). More than half of the presidential candidates from both sides of the aisle have responded to the questionnaire.

“Fully one-out-of-five voters have a disability, and 52 percent of likely voters have a loved one with a disability. Americans with disabilities have the ability to determine who wins or loses elections,” RespectAbility President Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi said. “In the early voting states, there are 680,038 people with disabilities in South Carolina and 357,035 people with disabilities in Nevada. Our community will play a major role in the outcome of this election, and it is vital for us to know where the candidates stand on our issues.”

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Kasich: Won’t Dismantle Resources for Special Education

Washington, Feb. 15 – RespectAbility’s James Trout has been on the campaign trail for several months asking candidates on both sides of the aisle a variety of questions on disability topics. Some candidates have recognized Trout and commended him for his efforts.

Recently, Trout asked Kasich about his policy proposal to move control of education from the federal to the state level and how Kasich would ensure that special education is fully funded in states where special education is not the governor’s priority.

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Sanders: Must Fight for Disability Rights

Concord, N.H., Feb. 10 – During last night’s victory speech celebrating his win of the New Hampshire primary, Sen. Bernie Sanders excited the disability community when he included a shout out for disability rights.

“We must pursue the fight for women’s rights, for gay rights, for disability rights,” Sanders said to applause.

Disability leaders tweeted it out, happy for the mere mention of the phrase “disability right.”

.@BernieSanders mentions #disability rights in #NHPrimary speech tonight #FITN

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New Hampshire #PwDsVote 2016 Candidate Questionnaire & Voter Guide

Concord, New Hampshire, Feb. 8 – RespectAbility released its New Hampshire update to its first #PwDsVote 2016 Campaign Questionnaire for people with disabilities (PwDs). For the New Hampshire release, more than half of the presidential candidates from both sides of the aisle have responded to the questionnaire.

RespectAbility is nonpartisan and does not endorse candidates. The questionnaire is purely for educational purposes as voters go to the polls.

“Fully one-out-of-five voters have a disability, and 52 percent of likely voters have a loved one with a disability. There are 56 million Americans with disabilities, and we have the ability to determine who wins or loses elections,” RespectAbility President Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi said. “In the early voting states, there are 357,730 people with a disability in Iowa, 166,258 PwDs in New Hampshire, 680,038 PwDs in South Carolina and 357,035 PwDs in Nevada. Our community will play a major role in the outcome of this election, and it is vital for us to know where the candidates stand on our issues.”

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Clinton: People with Disabilities Want to Work

Concord, N.H., Feb. 8 – Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is calling for employment opportunities for people with disabilities.

“People with disabilities – out of sight, out of mind,” Clinton said during a town hall with New England College students in  Henniker, New Hampshire on Saturday when listing the groups of people for which she says she is fighting.

“You know, I meet folks who come to my events who stand up and they talk to me – they are an adult with Autism, they are in a wheelchair. And they want to work. They want to contribute. What are we going to do?”

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Spotlight on Ben Spangenberg: On the Campaign Trail with a Wheelchair

Concord, N.H, Feb. 8 – Large crowds, bitter temperatures and snow present challenges to a wheelchair user like me; those were inconveniences I encountered at every event on my recent Iowa trip, but they pale in comparison to the issues people with disabilities deal with throughout the United States every day.  Now I am in New Hampshire, still pressing candidates to talk more about policies that effect the disability community. Fully 70 percent of the 56 million people with disabilities nationwide are not employed. People in the disability community encounter poverty, dependency and stigma. I am honored to bring these issues to the attention of presidential candidates, many of whom are unaware of the daunting challenges people with disabilities face.

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Jeb Bush Updates #PwDsVote 2016 Campaign Questionnaire

Concord, Feb. 7 – RespectAbility, a nonprofit organization working to empower people with disabilities to achieve the American dream, has asked all of the presidential candidates on both sides of the aisle to fill out a questionnaire on disability issues. As he has sought out and learned more about the various issues, Gov. Jeb Bush has returned an updated #PwDsVote 2016 Campaign Questionnaire for people with disabilities (PwDs).

We are presenting the campaign’s answers in full below.

QUESTION 1: Do you have a clear and transparent process for making decisions on disability issues? For example, how do you know/learn about disability issues and make decisions on the many policies that impact the one in five of Americans who have a disability? Have you studied the issues? Do you have a disability or a family member with a disability? Have you done meetings with disability leaders or citizens with disabilities? Do you have a disability advisor and/or advisory committee?

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How Hillary Clinton’s Campaign Made Addressing Disability Issues a Priority

Concord, N.H., Feb. 6 – When Hillary Clinton declared her candidacy for president on April 12, 2015, her campaign did not make a point of taking people with disabilities into account. She came under scrutiny for not including people with disabilities in her announcement video, and her famed van momentarily stopping in a handicap parking spot in Council Bluffs, Iowa in April drew negative attention.

In the following seven months, Clinton’s campaign became much more disability friendly. While she was one of the first presidential candidates to talk about disability issues, often it was done very clumsily and insensitively toward people with disabilities.

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John Kasich Responds to #PwDsVote 2016 Campaign Questionnaire

Washington, Feb. 5 – RespectAbility, a nonprofit organization working to empower people with disabilities to achieve the American dream, has asked all of the presidential candidates on both sides of the aisle to fill out a questionnaire on disability issues affecting people with disabilities (PwDs). While Gov. John Kasich is still finishing all of the responses, his campaign responded with a letter addressing several important topics including employment for people with disabilities, the prioritization of home and community-based services, Autism and expanding access to health care.

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Gov. Jeb Bush Gets Personal on Addiction, Attacks Trump

Derry, N.H., Feb. 5 – Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush is no stranger to talking about disability issues on the campaign trail, but on Thursday, he became emotional talking about the topic while sharing a personal story about his daughter’s struggle with addiction.

“I think we need to look at this, first and foremost, as an illness,” Bush said during a town hall in Derry. “We need to expand recovery centers so that people that struggle with addiction have a network of people they can rely on that can share, that understand what it’s like to go through this.”

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Cruz, Clinton Campaigns Commit to Fixing Drug Addiction Epidemic

Hooksett, N.H., Feb. 4 – In 2014, more than 300 people in New Hampshire died from drug overdose, many due to the spike in heroin use throughout the state. This was the topic at the “New Hampshire Roundtable Discussion on Addiction and the Heroin Epidemic” sponsored by The Addiction Policy Forum. Sen. Ted Cruz addressed the crowd and then joined a roundtable discussion including a representative for former Secretary Hillary Clinton. Key stakeholders from law enforcement, prevention, treatment and recovery as well as families affected by addiction made up the rest of the roundtable.

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Rubio’s Family Forms Foundation for His Support of Disability Issues

Bow, N.H., Feb. 3 – Rubio credits his father and grandfather with shaping his views about people with disabilities.

“The two most influential men growing up in my life were my father and my grandfather. They both happened to be disabled,” presidential candidate Marco Rubio said in Bow, New Hampshire on Wednesday.

Rubio said his grandfather raised seven kids in Cuba without the use of his leg following developing polio as a young child, after which a bus accident further hurt the leg.

“You can imagine how difficult it was in a developing country for a disabled man to find work,” said Rubio.

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Cruz: ADA will Continue Under a Cruz Presidency

Windham, N.H., Feb. 2 – Sen. Ted Cruz affirmed his commitment to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) on Tuesday.

“When it comes to people with disabilities, I give you my commitment,” Cruz said in Windham during a town hall. “I will do everything I can as president to expand their independence, to expand their ability to work meaningfully, to empower them to have access and the ability to work and provide for themselves. I think that is a human dignity that every human being should be able and is entitled to be able to experience.”

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Christie Calls for Increased Access to Homecare Services and Group Homes

Nashua, N.H., Feb. 2 – New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is calling for people with disabilities to be able to live with their families in their own homes and not in institutions.

“We have moved in New Jersey toward favoring homecare over institutional care,” Christie said at a town hall in Nashua on the evening of the first votes being cast for president in Iowa.

“We’ve done it for two reasons. One, because we think we can do it in a smart affordable way, and two, because we think people with disabilities do better in their own home than they do in an institution,” said Christie. “Our new budget will up the reimbursement cost for that type of care, and increase the spending that we do on it because we need to make it more competitive.”

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