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Month: November 2016

Colorado Voters Approve Controversial Assisted Suicide Law, Prompting Concern Among Disability Community

Washington, Nov. 13 – Colorado has joined five other states in allowing terminally ill people to end their lives with a physician’s assistance, despite protests from disability activist groups such as ADAPT and Not Dead Yet. Last week, voters in Colorado approved the state’s Proposition 106, known as the “End of…

Burr (NC-R), Hassan (NH-D), Van Hollen (MD-D) Highlighted Disability in Campaign TV Ads

Washington, Nov. 12 – Multiple winning Senate campaigns touted their work on disability issues in television ads as a new poll shows that addressing disability issues is a winning campaign strategy. In the final days of the election season, Rep. Chris Van Hollen, a Democrat who won the open U.S. Senate seat in…

Honoring All Veterans on Veterans Day: What are Trump’s policies for veterans with disabilities?

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…

Disability Champion Jim Langevin Wins Rhode Island Re-Election

Washington, Nov 11 – Rhode Island Rep. Jim Langevin, a Democratic member of congress for more than 20 years, won the re-election for Rhode Island’s 2nd congressional district, holding off Republican Rhue Reis. Langevin completed the #PwDsVote Disability Questionnaire for the presidential, senate and gubernatorial candidates, that was written by RespectAbility,…

Trump Cabinet Possibilities: Where is the Disability Representation?

Washington, Nov. 10 – RespectAbility has obtained an internal document from the Trump transition team titled “Trump Cabinet Possibilities.” We have been told the people listed below currently are being vetted for 22 key posts within the Trump administration. Looking at the list, it is clear that few of the people have any…

Election Tuesday Shows Big Win for Medical Marijuana Legalization

Washington, Nov. 9 – Nine states voted on whether or not to legalize marijuana yesterday. Citizens in Florida, Montana, North Dakota and Arkansas voted on the use of marijuana for medical conditions, and these measures passed in all four of the states where it was on the ballot. Voters in…

Hassan, Advocate for People with Disabilities, Wins New Hampshire Senate Bid

Washington, Nov. 9 – In New Hampshire, Democrat Gov. Maggie Hassan beat Republican incumbent Sen. Kelly Ayotte for the Senate seat in one of the most closely watched and evenly matched races. Hassan’s first ad told the story of her son Ben, who has cerebral palsy, is a wheelchair user and…

Gov. Bullock, Supporter of People with Disabilities, Wins Re-election

Washington, Nov 9 – Incumbent Democrat Gov. Steve Bullock has won re-election, beating Republican Greg Gianforte. Bullock completed the #PwDsVote Disability Questionnaire for presidential, senate and gubernatorial candidates put out by RespectAbility, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization working to end stigmas and advance opportunities for people with disabilities. Gianforte also responded to the questionnaire. In…

Down Ballot Candidates who Support Opportunities for People with Disabilities Win Big

Washington, Nov. 9 – RespectAbility congratulates Mr. Donald Trump on his win of the presidency and looks forward to working with his new administration in the future and sincerely hopes he will work with diverse parts of America in every sense of the word.

Looking down ballot, several senate and gubernatorial candidates who support opportunities for people with disabilities (PwDs) won big Tuesday night – confirming the results from a new poll released last week. The poll showed that voters were more likely to support candidates who prioritize ensuring that children with disabilities get the education and training they need to succeed as well expanding job and career opportunities for people with disabilities. The poll also showed that voters with disabilities overwhelmingly thought that America was on the wrong track.

There are 56 million people with disabilities (one in five Americans), more than 35 million of whom are eligible voters (one-sixth of the electorate). The poll showed that half of voters either have a disability or a loved one with a disability.

RespectAbility, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization working to end stigmas and advance opportunities for people with disabilities, reached out to candidates for president, governor and U.S. Senate – requesting them to complete the #PwDsVote disability questionnaire on multiple disability topics ranging from employment, education, violence and abuse, criminal justice, healthcare and more.

On the presidential level former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton filled out the full questionnaire. Mr. Trump did not. However, both Clinton and Trump completed the AAPD/NCIL presidential questionnaire.

Forty down ballot candidates, including 26 for Senate and 11 for governor, from both sides of the aisle (25 Democrats, 14 Republicans, 1 Green Party) responded to the #PwDsVote questionnaire, showing that disability rights is a nonpartisan issue. The responses also were geographically diverse, coming from states all around the country as politicians are paying more and more attention to the disability community.

Of those who responded, 11 candidates have won their election as of Wednesday morning. These include Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC), Atty. Gen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Rep. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Atty. Gen. Kamala Harris (D-CA), Gov. Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), all of whom have won their senate races; Rep. John Carney (D-DE), Gov. Steve Bullock (D-MT) and Lt. Gov. Phil Scott (R-VT), who won races for governor; and Rep. Jim Langevin (D-RI), who has won re-election to Congress. Please follow the links in the table below to read more about each of these candidates’ disability policies that affect 56 million Americans.

State Winning Candidate Race
California Atty. Gen. Kamala Harris (D) Senate
Delaware Rep. John Carney (D) Governor
Illinois Rep. Tammy Dukworth (D) Senate
Maryland Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D) Senate
Montana Gov. Steve Bullock (D) Governor
Nevada Atty. Gen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D) Senate
New Hampshire Gov. Maggie Hassan (D) Senate
North Carolina Sen. Richard Burr (R) Senate
Rhode Island Rep. Jim Langevin (D) Congress
Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy (D) Senate
Vermont Lt. Gov. Phil Scott (R) Governor

Scott, Supporter of People with Disabilities, Victorious in Vermont Gubernatorial Bid

Washington, Nov. 9 – Republican Lt. Gov. Phil Scott beat out Democrat candidate Sue Minter for Vermont’s open governorship. Scott completed the #PwDsVote Disability Questionnaire for presidential, senate and gubernatorial candidates put out by RespectAbility, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization working to end stigmas and advance opportunities for people with disabilities. Minter also responded…

Cortez Masto, First Latina Woman in Senate, Pledges to Fight for Equal Rights for People with Disabilities

Washington, Nov. 8 – Former Democrat Atty. Gen. Catherine Cortez Masto beat three-term Republican Rep. Joe Heck in a close race to fill the seat of Sen. Harry Reid, the Democratic minority leader, who is retiring after three decades in the Senate. She will be the first Latina woman to be in the U.S. Senate.

Cortez Masto completed the #PwDsVote Disability Questionnaire for presidential, senate and gubernatorial candidates put out by RespectAbility, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization working to end stigmas and advance opportunities for people with disabilities. Heck also responded to the questionnaire.

In her response to the disability questionnaire, Cortez Masto emphasized the need to reduce stigma due to the damage it causes to individuals.

“Too often people with disabilities carry these prejudices when applying for employment or housing,” she responded in the questionnaire. “I have always fought for workers’ rights, and fair and equal employment opportunities – and fighting for fair and equitable treatment for people with disabilities is no exception. I support legislation that would prohibit employers from paying workers with disabilities less than their counterparts, and I oppose legislation that discriminates against applicants.”

Nevada has 357,035 citizens with disabilities. Currently 40.9 percent of working-age Nevadans with disabilities are employed compared to 74 percent of those without disabilities. Nevada is a leader in disability employment, as the gap between the employment of people with and without disabilities currently stands at 33.4 percent, the second lowest in the nation only behind North Dakota. There are 201,717 Nevadans with disabilities who are between the ages of 18-64. Additionally, there are 8,200 Nevadans ages 16-20 with disabilities. More than 42,000 Nevada students have individual education plans (IEPs).

There are 56 million people with disabilities (one in five Americans), more than 35 million of whom are eligible voters (one-sixth of the electorate). A new poll showed that half of voters either have a disability or a loved one with a disability. The poll also showed that voters were more likely to support candidates who prioritize ensuring that children with disabilities get the education and training they need to succeed as well expanding job and career opportunities for people with disabilities.

RespectAbility reached out to candidates for president, governor and U.S. Senate – requesting them to complete the #PwDsVote disability questionnaire on multiple disability topics ranging from employment, education, violence and abuse, criminal justice, healthcare and more.

On the presidential level, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton filled out the full questionnaire. Despite numerous requests in person and by phone and email, Mr. Trump did not.

Forty down ballot candidates, including 26 for Senate and 11 for governor, from both sides of the aisle (25 Democrats, 14 Republicans, 1 Green Party) responded, showing that disability rights is a nonpartisan issue. The responses also were geographically diverse, coming from states all around the country as politicians are paying more and more attention to the disability community.

View Cortez Masto’s response to the questionnaire below:

Kamala Harris Wins California Senate Seat

Washington, Nov. 8 – Democrat Kamala Harris is set to be California’s next U.S. Senator, after beating Loretta Sanchez in this year’s election.

Harris completed the #PwDsVote Disability Questionnaire for presidential, senate and gubernatorial candidates put out by RespectAbility, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization working to end stigmas and advance opportunities for people with disabilities. Sanchez also responded to the questionnaire.

The Harris campaign response spoke of her dedication to supporting legislation that further disability rights.

“As San Francisco District Attorney and California Attorney General, Kamala has a lengthy record of advocating for civil rights, including disability rights, women’s rights, racial justice, and LGBT equality,” the Harris campaign responded. “In the Senate, Kamala will continue her civil rights advocacy for persons with disabilities by ensuring that the ADA is fully enforced and that similar international laws, such as the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, are given full effect.”

California has 4,019,882 citizens with disabilities. There are 2,010,783 Californians with disabilities who are between the ages of 18-64. Currently only 33.3 percent of working-age Californians with disabilities are employed compared to 72.2 percent of those without disabilities. Additionally, there are 115,000 Californians ages 16-20 with disabilities. More than 613,000 California students have individual education plans (IEPs).

There are 56 million people with disabilities (one in five Americans), more than 35 million of whom are eligible voters (one-sixth of the electorate). A new poll showed that half of voters either have a disability or a loved one with a disability. The poll also showed that voters were more likely to support candidates who prioritize ensuring that children with disabilities get the education and training they need to succeed as well expanding job and career opportunities for people with disabilities.

RespectAbility reached out to candidates for president, governor and U.S. Senate – requesting them to complete the #PwDsVote disability questionnaireon multiple disability topics ranging from employment, education, violence and abuse, criminal justice, healthcare and more.

On the presidential level, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton filled out the full questionnaire. Despite numerous requests in person and by phone and email, Mr. Trump did not.

Forty down ballot candidates, including 26 for Senate and 11 for governor, from both sides of the aisle (25 Democrats, 14 Republicans, 1 Green Party) responded, showing that disability rights is a nonpartisan issue. The responses also were geographically diverse, coming from states all around the country as politicians are paying more and more attention to the disability community.

View Harris’ response to the questionnaire below:

Burr Promotes Work on ABLE Act in Campaign, Wins Re-Election

Washington, Nov 8 – North Carolina Republican Sen. Richard M. Burr, a 20-year Republican veteran of Congress, won a tough re-election against Deborah Ross, a Democratic former state director of the American Civil Liberties Union.

Burr completed the #PwDsVote Disability Questionnaire for presidential, senate and gubernatorial candidates put out by RespectAbility, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization working to end stigmas and advance opportunities for people with disabilities. Ross also responded to the questionnaire.

“As a senior member of the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions, I worked closely with my colleagues to pass the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act of 2014,” Burr responded in the questionnaire. “This means people with disabilities will have a greater opportunity to achieve self-sufficiency and competitive integrated employment, which will ultimately enhance their life opportunities. For this, I was pleased to support WIOA.”

Throughout the campaign, Burr promoted his work on the bipartisan Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) act and how this law empowers people with disabilities and their families to save money without fearing the loss of essential benefits.

statewide political ad featured a North Carolina family with two children on the Autism Spectrum discussing how the entire family benefits from these new 529 savings accounts. The YouTube version of the ad, which is the version embedded on the campaign’s website, and the Facebook upload, both include captions, which is important for the 37.5 million American adults aged 18 and over who report some trouble hearing.

The campaign’s website also included two pages on the topic – a press release about the ad and a page devoted to “Working Across the Aisle for People with Disabilities.” Both pages contain facts and figures about the ABLE Act emphasizing Burr’s continuing, bipartisan work on the ABLE to Work Act, the ABLE Age Adjustment Act and the ABLE Financial Planning Act.

As Burr wrote in an op-ed in May 2016: “In my view, ABLE accounts are a milestone in a larger movement to create opportunity and independence for those impacted by disability.”

Burr also made a campaign stop to bring attention to the critical challenges facing people with disabilities living in North Carolina. In August, he visited Bitty and Beau’s Coffee Shop in Wilmington, North Carolina, which is “run by people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.” This coffee shop provides a current team of 40 employees the opportunity to live and work as a fixture of their local community.

While Burr advertised his work on the ABLE Act during the campaign, many people with disabilities in North Carolina struggle to find work. North Carolina has 1,330,804 citizens with disabilities. Currently, only 30 percent of the 715,508 working-age North Carolinians with disabilities have a job. Each year, one quarter of North Carolina’s 36,600 youth with disabilities will leave the school system and face an uncertain future. Despite solid job growth, the Tar Heel state currently ranks 39th in the nation in terms of the employment rate for people with disabilities.

There are 56 million people with disabilities (one in five Americans), more than 35 million of whom are eligible voters (one-sixth of the electorate). A new poll showed that half of voters either have a disability or a loved one with a disability. The poll also showed that voters were more likely to support candidates who prioritize ensuring that children with disabilities get the education and training they need to succeed as well expanding job and career opportunities for people with disabilities.

RespectAbility reached out to candidates for president, governor and U.S. Senate – requesting them to complete the #PwDsVote disability questionnaire on multiple disability topics ranging from employment, education, violence and abuse, criminal justice, healthcare and more.

On the presidential level, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton filled out the full questionnaire. Despite numerous requests in person and by phone and email, Mr. Trump did not.

Forty down ballot candidates, including 26 for Senate and 11 for governor, from both sides of the aisle (25 Democrats, 14 Republicans, 1 Green Party) responded, showing that disability rights is a nonpartisan issue. The responses also were geographically diverse, coming from states all around the country as politicians are paying more and more attention to the disability community.

View Burr’s response to the questionnaire below:

Duckworth Unseats Kirk, Wins Illinois Senate Seat

Washington, Nov. 8 – In Illinois, Democrat Rep. Tammy Duckworth successfully unseated Republican incumbent Sen. Mark Kirk for the U.S. Senate seat. Duckworth is a military veteran who lost both of her legs in Iraq after the Black Hawk helicopter she was co-piloting was shot down by a rocket-propelled grenade…

Van Hollen, Advocate for People with Disabilities, Victorious in Maryland Senate Bid

Washington, Nov. 8 – In Maryland, Rep. Chris Van Hollen won the race to become the state’s next U.S. Senator, defeating Republican Kathy Szeliga. Van Hollen completed the #PwDsVote Disability Questionnaire for presidential, senate and gubernatorial candidates put out by RespectAbility, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization working to end stigmas and…

Delaware’s Carney Wins Governorship, Follows in Footsteps of Disability Leader Gov. Markell

Washington, Nov. 8 – Democratic Rep. John Carney has defeated Republican state Sen. Colin Bonini for the open gubernatorial race in Delaware. He completed the #PwDsVote Disability Questionnaire for presidential, senate and gubernatorial candidates put out by RespectAbility, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization working to end stigmas and advance opportunities for people with…

Leahy, Supporter of People with Disabilities, Victorious in Re-Election Bid in Vermont

Washington, Nov. 8 – As expected, Sen. Patrick Leahy won reelection for his U.S. Senate seat representing Vermont. During his campaign, the incumbent senator devoted time to completing the #PwDsVote Disability Questionnaire for presidential, senate and gubernatorial candidates put out by RespectAbility, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization working to end stigmas…

Vital Disability Voter Info

Washington, Nov. 8 – Below you will find  four up-to-the-minute resources to help you this election: State-by-state voter guides on what specifically candidates for president, governor and senate are saying on disability issues. Guides broken down by issue from candidates across the county. Straight Q&A’s with candidates on disability issues…

Candidates on Community Living for People with Disabilities

Washington, Nov. 7 – Many individuals with disabilities choose to receive home and community based services such as personal care attendants instead of living in an institution. Indeed, studies show it is more cost effective to do so than to live in institutionalized settings such as nursing homes where people with disabilities can no longer participate and contribute to society by working and paying taxes.

Yet coverage of personal care attendant services is available only through Medicaid waivers, and many states have extensive waiting lists. This also becomes a barrier to employment for many individuals with disabilities who lose Medicaid services that provide these and other home and community based services if they choose to work. Other people with disabilities who are not eligible for Medicaid are unable to work to begin with due to lack of personal care attendant coverage through private insurance or Medicare. In 2014, of the 7,224,420 individuals with independent living disabilities aged 18 to 
64 years living in the community, just 1,146,316 individuals were employed – that is only 15.9 percent.

As part of the #PwDsVote Disability Questionnaire, the nonpartisan nonprofit disability organization RespectAbility asked candidates running for Senate or Governor about their plans to address these issues. Every candidate was given an equal opportunity to address these issues and if they are not listed, it is because they declined to answer.

Many of the candidates also talked about the Disability Integration Act (DIA), which was introduced in the Senate in December 2015 by Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) to ensure that people with disabilities needing help with everyday tasks who previously have been forced into institutions would have the opportunity to instead live in their homes with appropriate aid.

The quotes in this article are the candidates’ answers to question 9 in the gubernatorial/senate questionnaire: “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? “ 

Democrats and Republicans agree there is a need for home and community-based services to be available for individuals with disabilities who would rather live in their own homes than in an institution or nursing home.

“Much of our ability to provide community-based services is reliant on the workforce, which supports these services. My recently created Health Care Workforce Commission is working to address how to grow, support and professionalize New Hampshire’s Direct Support Professionals (DSPs),” responded Gov. Maggie Hassan, a Democrat running for the U.S. Senate seat in New Hampshire. “And in the Senate, I will advocate for measures like the Disability Integration Act to expand access to home and community-based services for people with disabilities.”

Republican incumbent Sen. Kelly Ayotte also talked about her support for caregivers in her response, listing her support for the Recognize, Assist, Include, Support, and Engage (RAISE) Family Caregivers Act and the Home Health Care Planning Improvement Act.

“I have been a leader in the Senate fighting for policies to support family caregivers, who care for family members and loved ones in the comfort of their own homes,” Ayotte responded. “I am a co-founder of the Assisting Caregivers Today Caucus, which works to bring greater awareness to the issues facing family caregivers, including more than 268,000 in New Hampshire.”

Check out all of the candidates’ full answers below:

Disability Voter Resource Guide

Washington, Nov. 7 – As voters get ready to head to the polls tomorrow, many are concerned about various access issues from physical accessibility to voter ID laws. We’ve compiled resources provided by general Election Day voter rights organizations as well as those provided by various disability groups. See below for…