Questions Focus on Issues Relating to Employment and Stigma
In 2016, RespectAbility, a Washington-based nonpartisan nonprofit that fights stigmas and advances opportunities so people with disabilities can participate in all aspects of community, sent the #PwDsVote Presidential Campaign Questionnaire to all of the presidential candidates and #PwDsVote Disability Questionnaire for Senate and Gubernatorial Candidates for down-ballot candidates. For 2018, RespectAbility has once again been reaching out to down-ballot candidates and is posting all responses in full on The RespectAbility Report, a nonpartisan political commentary on U.S. elections with a focus on disability issues. The RespectAbility Report is nonpartisan and does not endorse candidates. The questionnaire is purely for educational purposes.
According to a recent survey, 74 percent of likely voters have a disability themselves or have a family member or a close friend with disabilities.
“Candidates for office ignore the disability community at their peril,” said former U.S. Representative and Dallas Mayor Steve Bartlett. Bartlett, who was a primary author of the Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990, is the chairman of RespectAbility.
Below are the questions RespectAbility submitted to the campaigns. RespectAbility also provided each candidate with a 10-page resource guide to help with answering these questions. Download the PDF.
- What policies and actions do you support to reduce the stigmas of people with disabilities that are barriers to employment, independence and equality?
- What is your record on improving the lives of people with disabilities, specifically in enabling people with disabilities to have jobs, careers or start their own businesses?
- Do you have specific strategies for youth employment for people with disabilities? For example, what are your thoughts on apprenticeships for youth with disabilities?
- The jobs of the future will largely require post-secondary education. However, on average only 65 percent of students with disabilities complete high school and only seven percent complete college. What policies do you support to enable students with disabilities, including those from historically marginalized communities and backgrounds, to receive the diagnosis, Individualized Education Plan (IEP) or 504 plan and accommodations/services they need to succeed in school and be prepared for competitive employment?
- Today there are more than 750,000 people with disabilities behind bars in our nation. Most of them are functionally illiterate and 95 percent of them will eventually be released. What are your views to ensure that individuals with disabilities who are incarcerated gain the skills and mental health supports that will enable them to be successful when they leave incarceration?
- People with disabilities are twice as likely to be victims of crime as those without disabilities. This includes the fact that both children and adults with disabilities are more likely to be victims of rape or sexual assault. They are also are far more likely to suffer from police violence, partially because manifestations of disability can be misunderstood. How would you address these issues?
- How would you ensure that people with disabilities have access to healthcare and the benefits they need while enabling them with opportunities to work to the best of their capacities without losing the supports they need to live?
- What are your thoughts on ensuring that people with disabilities have the option to live in their homes instead of institutions and still have the community attendant supports they need to live?
- How would you advance innovations (i.e., assistive technologies, devices) that can help people with disabilities become more successfully employed, productive and independent?
- Are your office, website and events accessible to people with disabilities? If yes, please describe.