Washington, D.C., Oct. 17 – Responding today to a questionnaire by the disability advocacy group RespectAbility, Michigan attorney general Bill Schuette outlined his views on training and hiring the 738,700 working-age people with disabilities in Michigan, who have an unemployment rate of 66.4 percent. Schuette is the Republican nominee for Michigan Governor.
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. The upcoming elections and their results will have an impact on people with disabilities, so it is important to become familiar with the candidates’ thoughts on certain issues.
“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.
RespectAbility reached out to Schuette’s opponent, Democrat Gretchen Whitmer, as well, but received no response, according to the organization’s President, Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi.
RespectAbility is nonpartisan and does not endorse candidates. The questionnaire is purely for educational purposes.
While Schuette did not complete the questionnaire, he shared a statement in response. The full text of Schuette’s statement follows:
Thank you for sending me the RespectAbility candidate questionnaire. I appreciate this opportunity to share with you the priorities I would have, as governor, for people with disabilities and for all Michiganians.
I am proud of my solid track record and my vision for improving the lives of the people of Michigan. As attorney general, I have consistently been a voice for victims, consumers and all Michiganians because I believe everyone should be treated equally under the law. As governor, I will ensure such policies are practiced within my administration, and I will approach the laws and budgets I sign with the same standard in mind.
Michigan must be a place where we grow our recovering economy and ensure there is no room for discrimination of any kind, because all people must be treated with dignity, grace and respect. The disability community has so much to contribute, especially to our state’s economy, and businesses need to know there is a real return on investment in hiring persons with disabilities. As governor, I would make sure employers hear this important message.
My plan for Michigan will revitalize all our communities, urban and rural, with growth-friendly policies that make us nationally competitive and rebuild our population. Michigan is still 300,000 jobs short from where we were before the Great Recession. Our incomes are still below pre-recession levels, and more than $5,000 below the national average. As governor, I’ll set policies that let our businesses expand and thrive and attract the people needed to fill all the jobs we are creating, while giving a pay raise to those who are already here.
My agenda includes cutting taxes, slashing auto insurance rates, rebuilding our roads and other infrastructure, and improving our schools to make our state a more attractive place to live, work, start a business and raise a family. I want to restore a healthy balance between career and college preparation in our schools, with a focus on vocational education, apprenticeships and job training.
Michigan has made strides in improving workforce and economic development strategies, healthcare access and funding, and alignment of government and private sector programs, services and opportunities to specifically benefit the disability community, and I will make it a priority to continue these important efforts.
In a $57 billion state budget like Michigan has, I believe we can find the money to build better roads, maintain public safety, boost economic growth, improve our schools and provide vital services for those who need them most. Those will be some of my spending priorities as governor.
Thank you for reaching out to me. I look forward to working with you as Michigan’s next governor.
RespectAbility has asked all the candidates for governor 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 U.S. elections with a focus on disability issues. The RespectAbility Report first posed this down ballot questionnaire to candidates in 2016 while covering all of the 2016 Democratic and Republican candidates for president. Coverage of this and related issues can be found at http://therespectabilityreport.org.
The RespectAbility Report is nonpartisan and does not endorse candidates.