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Hawaii’s John Carroll Completes #PwDsVote Senate Campaign Questionnaire

John Carroll headshot wearing a suit, blue shirt and red and blue tie
John Carroll

Washington, Oct. 17 – RespectAbility, a nonprofit organization working to empower people with disabilities to achieve the American dream, has asked Senate candidates on both sides of the aisle to fill out a questionnaire on disability issues. Republican John Carroll, who is challenging Democrat incumbent Sen. Brian Schatz for the senate seat representing Hawaii, completed the #PwDsVote Disability Campaign Questionnaire for Senate and Gubernatorial Candidates for people with disabilities.

RespectAbility is nonpartisan and does not endorse candidates. The questionnaire is purely for educational purposes.

151,009 civilians with disabilities live in Hawaii. Of the more than 71,000 working-age (18-64) people with disabilities, just 39 percent are employed. This lack of opportunity creates poverty, powerlessness and even can increase the likelihood of developing a mental health condition.

RespectAbility also has sent the questionnaire to the campaign of Brian Schatz and will post his responses upon receipt.

We are presenting Carroll’s answers in full below:

QUESTION 1: Do you have designated advisors and clear processes for making decisions on disability issues? If yes, please describe.

ANSWER: No.


QUESTION 2: Is your campaign accessible and inclusive to people with disabilities? If yes, please describe.

ANSWER: Yes. I believe that every voter deserves the opportunity to take part in the election process. Our campaign has yet to come across a specific situation that would require us to think about and implement targeted strategies for those with disabilities yet. However, should the opportunity arise we will most certainly do our best to include and encourage dialogue from our friends with disabilities.


QUESTION 3: Do you have a proven record on improving or a plan to improve the lives of people with disabilities? If yes, please describe.

ANSWER: No. I do not have a proven record of doing so. However, I see people with disabilities in the same light that I see my other constituents. I will hear their needs and address them as they arise.


QUESTION 4: Do you have a plan/commitment to reduce the stigmas about people with disabilities that are barriers to employment, independence and equality? If yes, please describe.

ANSWER: No, to a plan. Yes, to a commitment. We all deserve the same opportunities.


QUESTION 5: Do you have a proven record on enabling, or a plan to enable, people with disabilities to have jobs, careers and to start their own businesses? Do you have specific strategies for youth employment for people with disabilities and/or sector strategies such as jobs and careers in STEM, hospitality, healthcare and elder care? If yes, please describe.

ANSWER: No, I do not have a proven record of this, but yes, I do employ people with disabilities. As for strategies, I do not have any at this time. I take and will take each situation as it comes.


QUESTION 6: Do you have a plan to enable students with disabilities, including those from historically marginalized communities and backgrounds, to receive the diagnosis, Individualized Education Plan (IEP) and accommodations/services they need to succeed in school and be prepared for competitive employment? If yes, please describe.

ANSWER: No, I do not have a plan.


QUESTION 7: Do you have a plan to reform the benefits system (Medicaid, Medicaid buyin) to enable people with disabilities to work to the best of their capacities without losing supports they need to work? If yes, please describe.

ANSWER: Yes. As a voter with a hearing disability and having experienced numerous surgeries that have left me with a few replacements, I plan to introduce legislation that will make insurance company interests secondary in the Medicaid decision-making process.

Doctors, who’ve developed close relationships with their clients and understand their needs, should be making all decisions.


QUESTION 8: Do you have a plan to ensure people with disabilities are eligible for affordable health insurance regardless of preexisting conditions? If yes, please describe.

ANSWER: No, I have no plan at this present time, but will be looking into the issue as this is a problem in our state. Everyone, including the homeless and unemployed should be entitled to some sort of healthcare.


QUESTION 9: Do you have a plan to provide home and community-based services to people with disabilities who would rather live in their own homes instead of institutions, and have the community attendant supports they need to work? If yes, please describe.

ANSWER: No, I have on plan at this present time, but should the need arise in our state, I would address it.


QUESTION 10: Do you have a plan to ensure that individuals with disabilities receive services that would prevent them from being swept up into the criminal justice system, divert individuals with disabilities who are arrested to treatment options in lieu of jail where appropriate, receive needed accommodations in the criminal justice process and while incarcerated, and offer appropriate reentry support to help individuals with disabilities leaving jails and prisons reintegrate into their communities and secure jobs? If yes, please describe.

ANSWER: No, I have on plan at this present time, but should the need arise in our state, I would address it.


QUESTION 11: People with disabilities are twice as likely to be victims of crime as those without disabilities. People with disabilities also are far more likely to suffer from police violence, partially because manifestations of disability can be misunderstood as defiant behavior. Do you have a plan to address these issues? If yes, please describe.

ANSWER: No, I have on plan at this present time, but should the need arise in our state, I would address it.


QUESTION 12: Both children and adults with disabilities are more likely to be victims of rape or sexual assault. Do you have a plan to address this issue? If yes, please describe.

ANSWER: No, I have on plan at this present time, but should the need arise in our state, I would address it. Domestic violence, child and spousal abuse and sex trafficking are all reprehensible, and I will do all I can to eliminate their continued existence.


QUESTION 13: Do you have a plan for veterans with disabilities facing barriers transitioning from active duty to civilian employment? If yes, please describe.

ANSWER: No, however I am aware and concerned and will be working with the VA to ensure full coverage for veterans.


QUESTION 14: Do you have a plan for accessible, affordable, integrated housing to allow people with disabilities to live in the communities where they work or are seeking work? If yes, please describe.

ANSWER: No, not at this time.


QUESTION 15: Do you have a plan to address the lack of accessible transportation options that is a barrier to work for people with disabilities? If yes, please describe.

ANSWER: Hawaii has one of the best public transportation systems in the country, and has operated as such for many years. That system is also very inclusive, and has been from its inception, of our citizens with disabilities. We here in Hawaii have many transportation programs and initiatives that are available to people with disabilities, and we are proud of that.


QUESTION 16: Do you have a plan to advance innovations (i.e., assistive technologies, devices) that can help people with disabilities become more successfully employed, productive and independent? If yes, please describe.

ANSWER: I have no plan to do so at this time, but, being hearing impaired myself, I understand the plight faced by our disabled citizens, as well as the feelings of help and relief felt by them that come with such innovation. I will be at the forefront of this advancement.


QUESTION 17: In your foreign policy and national security plan, do you plan to continue America’s tradition of standing up for the rights of oppressed people, including people with disabilities, around the world? If yes, please describe.

ANSWER: Yes. One of the themes of my plan is the continued support for oppressed individuals around the world. Without question, that will include those with disabilities.


RespectAbility has asked all the candidates for Senator on both sides of the aisle to complete the same questionnaire. We will share responses from additional campaigns as we receive them.

The RespectAbility Report is a nonpartisan political commentary on the 2016 U.S. elections with a focus on disability issues. The RespectAbility Report has covered all of the Democratic and Republican candidates for president and has begun coverage of down ballot candidates. Coverage can be found at http://therespectabilityreport.org/. The RespectAbility Report is nonpartisan and does not endorse candidates.

Published in#PwDsVote 2016 QuestionnaireRepublicansSenate

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