Washington, D.C., July 30 – “29 years ago today, the ADA began to tear down the walls preventing them from the fair shot they deserve,” Steve Bullock tweeted in commemoration of the 29th anniversary of the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) on Friday.
The Montana Governor also talked about his work as governor. “I fought for folks with disabilities to receive equal wages and work without discrimination — but we have a long way to go,” he tweeted. “On the anniversary of the ADA, we must all recommit to ensuring a fair shot for every American. As President, that’s exactly what I’ll do.”
Montana now ranks 8th in the nation for employment rates of people with disabilities with 31,935 of the 69,553 working-age (18-64) Montanans with disabilities being employed. The newly published 2018 Annual Disability Statistics Compendium shows Montana has maintained a 45.9 percent disability employment rate from 2017 to 2018.
In honor of Disability Employment Awareness Month this past October, Gov. Bullock released a proclamation renewing his state’s commitment to advancing opportunities for people with disabilities. “Welcoming the talents of all people, including people with disabilities, is a critical part of our efforts to build an inclusive community and stronger economy,” said Bullock in the proclamation. “This month, and every month, we celebrate the many and varied contributions people with disabilities have given to our state.”
Bullock was one of 12 of the 20 Democratic candidates debating this week to make any mention of the ADA anniversary on Friday. According to the Census Bureau, more than 56 million Americans live with some form of disability. This can include visible conditions such as spinal cord injuries, visual impairments or hearing loss to people living with invisible disabilities such as learning disabilities, mental health or Autism.
Fully three-quarters of likely voters either have a disability themselves or have a family member, or a close friend with disabilities. Therefore, as the 2020 candidates take to the debate stage, it is in the best interest of every presidential candidate and the citizens of this country for candidates to recognize disability issues at this time.
“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 board chair of RespectAbility. “People with disabilities are politically active swing voters, and candidates should take note of the important issues they care about.”
RespectAbility is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that fights stigmas and advances opportunities so that people with disabilities can fully participate in all aspects of their communities. RespectAbility does not rate or endorse candidates. View more coverage of 2020 presidential candidates.