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Month: November 2018

Voters with Disabilities Find Accessibility Issues Nationally and Locally

Washington, D.C., Nov. 20 – Voters from across the country faced long lines, malfunctioning machines and a lack of trained workers on during the 2018 midterm elections. In some parts of the country, voters were forced to wait for hours, only to find that their voting precinct was not equipped with the correct facilities to handle a large turnout. To voters without disabilities, these obstacles may come across as a hindrance or annoyance. For voters with disabilities, however, lack of accessible technology, long wait times and voting rules can disenfranchise them from the system.

A National Issue

The problems with the election were widespread across the country. In Atlanta, home to a contentious Georgia Governor’s race, one precinct was equipped with only three electronic machines to serve nearly 3,000 voters. In Brooklyn, voters were forced to wait while poll workers rushed to repair ballot scanners as a line slowly wrapped around the precinct outside. In North Dakota, Native American voters found themselves being turned away from trying to cast provisional ballots. It became clear that across the country even voters without disabilities faced obstacles in trying to vote.

Candidates Who Support Opportunities for People with Disabilities Won Big

Washington, D.C., Nov. 19 – Key senate and gubernatorial candidates from both sides of the political aisle who support opportunities for people with disabilities won big this election, showing that disability rights is a winning issue. There are 56 million people with disabilities (one in five Americans), more than 35 million of…

Disability Advocates Cardin and Hogan Win Re-Elections

Rockville, Maryland, Nov. 9 – Both Republican Gov. Larry Hogan and Democratic Sen. Ben Cardin successfully defended their seats against their challengers, Ben Jealous and Tony Campbell. Hogan and Cardin’s success shows that disability rights is a nonpartisan issue. This past year was a year of steady job growth in…

Disability Advocates Casey and Wolf Win Re-Elections

Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, Nov. 9 – Both Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf and Sen. Bob Casey, Jr., successfully defended their seats against their challengers, Scott Wagner and Lou Barletta. Each of these individuals have spoken about the importance of including the more than 1.7 million Pennsylvanians living with a disability in society…

Disability Advocates Rosen and Sisolak Win Elections

Carson City, Nevada, Nov. 8 – Both Democrat Steve Sisolak and Jacky Rosen were elected to new positions in Nevada – Sisolak defeating Adam Laxalt for the governorship and Rosen defeating incumbent Dean Heller for U.S. Senate. While campaigning, both Rosen and Sisolak completed a disability issues questionnaire for Senate and…

Disability Supporter Cuomo Wins New York Gubernatorial Re-Election

Down Ballot Disability Supporters in New York City Also Win Big New York City, Nov. 8 – Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo has won re-election, defeating Republican challenger Marcus J. Molinaro for New York’s governorship. In the weeks prior to the election, Cuomo made new commitments on jobs for people with…

Disability Supporter Robert Jackson Wins NY District 31 Senate Seat

New York City, Nov. 8 – Longtime former City Council member and Democratic New York State Senate Candidate Robert Jackson wins the District 31 senate seat beating incumbent Marisol Alcantara (Independence Party) and Melinda Crump (Republican).

Jackson responded to disability issues questionnaire for New York City candidates for Senate and Assembly put out by RespectAbility, a nonpartisan, nonprofit national disability organization working to end stigmas and advanceopportunities for people with disabilities. The questionnaire to which Jackson responded gauges how candidates plan to tackle disability issues. This way, voters with concerns about disability policy know which candidates have the positions that they agree with the most. Jackson’s opponents, Alcantara and Crump, did not respond to the questionnaire despite repeated requests to their campaigns from RespectAbility.

Jackson fully responded to the five questions in the questionnaire, indicating what disability policy would mean for his administration. For instance, Jackson highlighted how he would tackle issues such as high unemployment rates amongst the disabled in New York.

“My plan is to work with [RespectAbility] and other advocates to reduce the unacceptably high unemployment rate among working-age persons with disabilities in New York,” said Jackson. “This plan should include early training and subsidized intern programs to help disabled people become part of the workforce when they are young and can build experience and credentials.”

Disability workforce programs can be vital in helping people with disabilities find stable employment, especially when people in the disability community face chronic joblessness. Currently, only 32.7 percent, or one third, of residents of New York City with disabilities between the ages of 18 to 64 are employed. In comparison, 58.4 percent of working-age residents of New York City without disabilities are employed.

To help address such issues, Jackson also plans on initiating other programs to help the disability community obtain a higher rate of employment. These programs include giving workers with disabilities tax credits to help offset expenses associated with their disabilities as well as providing transportation options so that people with disabilities can get to work in the first place.

Read Jackson’s full response below.

Disability Supporter Gottfried Re-Elected to NYS Assembly District 75

New York City, Nov. 8 – Democrat Richard Gottfried was re-elected to the New York State Assembly District 75 with no major party opposition in the midterm elections. While campaigning, Gottfried completed a disability issues questionnaire for New York City candidates put out by RespectAbility, a nonpartisan, nonprofit national disability organization working to end stigmas and advance opportunities for people with disabilities. The questionnaire asked candidates to answer five key questions that impact the 948,000 people with disabilities living in New York City.

While Gottfried did not answer each question, he submitted a statement in response. He highlighted his participation in the Assembly Health Committee, as well as his sponsorship of the NY Health Act, which aims to create universal, single-payer health coverage for the city of New York.

“I will be amending the bill in the 2019 legislative session to include long-term care (particularly home care),” Gottfried said in his statement.

Gottfried closed with a commitment to work with people with disabilities to meet their goals. “I believe strongly in working with groups. including people with disabilities, to learn from them what their priorities and needs are and what state policies and actions would be most effective, and then to work in whatever ways I can to help advance that agenda,” he said.

There are 455,186 working-age people with disabilities in New York City and only 150,074 have jobs. Currently, only 32.7 percent, or one third, of residents of New York City with disabilities between the ages of 18 to 64 are employed. In comparison, 58.4 percent of working-age residents of New York City without disabilities are employed.

View Gottfried’s full statement below:

Disability Supporter Jessica Ramos Wins NYS Senate District 13

New York City, Nov. 8 – Democrat Jessica Ramos won the New York State Senate District 13 seat in the midterm elections, defeating incumbent Jose Peralta. While campaigning, Ramos completed a disability issues questionnaire for New York City candidates put out by RespectAbility, a nonpartisan, nonprofit national disability organization working to end stigmas and advance opportunities for people with disabilities. The questionnaire asked candidates to answer five key questions that impact the 948,000 people with disabilities living in New York City. Ramos’ opponent, incumbent Jose Peralta, did not respond to requests to fill out the questionnaire.

In her response, Ramos highlighted her pledge to uplift people with disabilities economically. There are 455,186 working-age people with disabilities in New York City and only 150,074 have jobs. Currently, only 32.7 percent, or one third, of residents of New York City with disabilities between the ages of 18 to 64 are employed. In comparison, 58.4 percent of working-age residents of New York City without disabilities are employed.

“In addition to my commitment to hire a diverse staff, I will work to create more opportunities for people with disabilities,” she said. “I also support A2165/S55, which increases participation of businesses owned by people with disabilities, veterans, and LGBT+ in state contracts.”

Ramos also emphasized her commitment to building up communities whose need have previously been ignored.

“We’ve already begun creating an accessible space so that the community can come together and discuss the intersections of topics such as housing, public schools, transportation, etc. and making sure that we look at these topics through a different lens (this includes through a lens of people with disabilities),” she said. “This is the first [plan], but it won’t be our last community engagement event to make sure that all people have a seat at our table.”

Poverty, especially in major metropolises like New York, disproportionately impact women and girls, especially those of color. In total, there are 251,089 working-age women with disabilities living in New York City. Out of that number, 111,236 New York women living with disabilities have an income below the poverty level in one of the most expensive cities in the world. Likewise, in the City, only 29 percent of working-age African American women with disabilities and 24 percent of working-age Latina women with disabilities have jobs.

“Everyone deserves an opportunity to succeed and I am committed to working towards a future where marginalized people, particularly women of color, get an equal chance,” Ramose said. “Not only will I provide a platform for them, I will make sure they have the tools to organize and receive the resources they need.”

View Ramos’ full response to the questionnaire below:

Disability Supporter Brown Wins Oregon Gubernatorial Re-Election

Rockville, Maryland, Nov. 8 – Democratic Gov. Kate Brown has won re-election, defeating Republican challenger Knute Buehler for Oregon’s governorship. In the weeks prior to the election, Brown made new commitments on jobs for people with disabilities in a proclamation sent to RespectAbility in October in honor of Disability Employment…

Disability Supporter Wolf Wins Gubernatorial Re-Election in Pennsylvania

Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, Nov. 7 – Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf has won re-election, defeating Republican challenger Scott Wagner for Pennsylvania’s governorship. Recently Wolf affirmed his commitments on jobs for Pennsylvanians with disabilities in a proclamation sent to RespectAbility in October in honor of Disability Employment Awareness Month. RespectAbility is a nonpartisan,…

Disability Supporter Ducey Wins Arizona Gubernatorial Re-Election

Phoenix, Arizona, Nov. 7 – Republican gubernatorial candidate Doug Ducey won re-election, defeating Democratic challenger David Garcia in the election for Arizona’s governorship. In the weeks prior to the election, Ducey issued a proclamation for Disability Employment Awareness Month. He emphasized the importance of people with disabilities’ impact on the economy…

Abbott, Governor with a Disability, Wins Re-Election

Austin, Texas, Nov. 7 – Republican Gov. Greg Abbott has won re-election, defeating Democratic challenger Lupe Valdez for Texas’ governorship. In the weeks prior to the election, Abbott made new commitments on jobs for people with disabilities in a proclamation sent to RespectAbility in October in honor of Disability Employment Awareness…

Disability Supporter Henry McMaster Wins South Carolina Gubernatorial Re-Election

Columbia, South Carolina, Nov. 7 – Republican Gov. Henry McMaster has won re-election, defeating Democratic challenger James Smith Jr. for South Carolina’s governorship. In the weeks prior to the election, McMaster made new commitments on jobs for people with disabilities in a proclamation sent to RespectAbility in October in honor of…

Disability Supporter Chris Sununu Wins New Hampshire Gubernatorial Re-Election

Concord, New Hampshire, Nov. 7 – Republican Gov. Chris Sununu has won re-election, defeating Democratic challenger Molly Kelly for New Hampshire’s governorship. In the weeks prior to the election, Sununu made new commitments on jobs for people with disabilities in a proclamation sent to RespectAbility in October in honor of Disability…

Disability Supporter Kay Ivey Re-Elected as Alabama Governor

Montgomery, Alabama, Nov. 7 – Republican gubernatorial candidate Kay Ivey has won re-election for the Alabama governorship, defeating Democratic challenger Walt Maddox. In October, Ivey issued a proclamation for Disability Employment Awareness. She emphasized the importance of people with disabilities’ impact on the economy while highlighting a need for a break…

Disability Supporter Hutchinson Re-Elected to Arkansas Governorship

Little Rock, Arkansas, Nov 7 – Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson has won re-election, defeating Democratic challenger Jared Henderson for Arkansas’ governorship. Leading up to the election, Hutchinson issued a proclamation for Disability Employment Awareness Month. He emphasized the importance of people with disabilities’ impact on the economy while highlighting a need…

Disability Supporter Hogan Wins Maryland Gubernatorial Re-Election

Rockville, Maryland, Nov. 7 – Republican Gov. Larry Hogan has won re-election, defeating Democratic challenger Ben Jealous for Maryland’s governorship. In the weeks prior to the election, Hogan made new commitments on jobs for people with disabilities in a proclamation sent to RespectAbility in October in honor of Disability Employment…

Disability Supporter Rosen Wins Nevada Seat in U.S. Senate Race

Jacky Rosen headshotCarson City, Nevada, Nov. 7—Democratic U.S. Rep. Jacky Rosen was elected to the Nevada seat of the U.S. Senate yesterday in the midterm elections.

While campaigning, Rosen completed a disability issues questionnaire for Senate and gubernatorial candidates put out by RespectAbility, a nonpartisan, nonprofit national organization working to end stigmas and advance opportunities for people with disabilities. The questionnaire included 10 questions on topics important to people with disabilities and those close to them. Rosen’s competitor, incumbent Dean Heller, also completed the questionnaire. His responses can be viewed on the Respectability Report.

In response to the questionnaire, Rosen emphasized protecting the rights of people with disabilities in public spaces, including work spaces. “I believe the American Disabilities Act was a critical piece of legislation and we must continue to uphold it and ensure that people with disabilities always have a seat at the table and that their concerns and problems are heard and taken seriously,” she said in her response.

Rosen highlighted her record of supporting legislation that allows people with disabilities and their families to access assistive technology. She also stressed the importance of addressing workplace harassment against people with disabilities. “My bipartisan Sunlight in Workplace Harassment Act (H.R. 5028) would require publicly-traded companies to disclose payments of settlements for sexual harassment, abuse, and discrimination, including that based on disability status,” Rosen said.

There are 198,826 working-age people with disabilities living in Nevada, and 83,453 people have jobs. With an unemployment rate for people with disabilities of 58 percent, Nevada ranks 13th on this list of the best states for employment for people with disabilities (42 percent).

View Rosen’s full response to the questionnaire below: