Washington, D.C., Oct. 17 – Responding today to a questionnaire by the disability advocacy group RespectAbility, Republican nominee for Senate Ron Curtis outlined his views on training and hiring the 65,700 working-age people with disabilities in Hawaii, who have an unemployment rate of 59.5 percent.
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 Curtis’ opponent, incumbent Sen. Mazie Hirono, as well, but received no response, according to the organization’s Executive Director, Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi.
RespectAbility is nonpartisan and does not endorse candidates. The questionnaire is purely for educational purposes.
While Curtis did not complete the questionnaire, he shared a statement in response. The full text of Curtis’ statement follows:
Your organization’s questionnaire is quite detailed, comprehensive, and truly focused on advocating for people with disabilities. To properly address your questionnaire, I would bring in knowledgeable people such as yourself and members of your organization to collaborate and advise on the best paths forward in addressing the questions that you pose. If elected, I would do just that to address the concerns your organization has raised. I would invite subject matter experts to collaborate with our staff on the research and analysis they have performed to use as the foundation for new legislation allowing for those with disabilities to be more inclusive in day-to-day life in Hawaii and in America. This is an approach rather than a solution, but it is an approach that should lead to significant solutions if we can get the best people involved in the process.
RespectAbility has asked all the candidates for senate 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.