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Author archive for: Ben Spangenberg

Eric Trump Says Father is Running for Families with Special Needs Children: Voters Waiting on Plan Details

Cleveland, July 21 – Eric Trump had one message to the Republican National Convention last night – his father is “running for you” – and, for the first time since the convention began Monday afternoon, his speech included America’s largest minority group – people with disabilities.

“To single mothers, to families with special needs children, to middle class families who no longer can afford medical benefits sufficient to cover their everyday needs, my father is running for you.”

Until Eric Trump’s speech, no other primetime convention speaker had mentioned disability directly in his or her speech. Yet one-in-five people in America have a disability, and more than half of American voters have a close family member or friend with a disability.

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Spotlight on Ben Spangenberg: On the Campaign Trail with a Wheelchair

Concord, N.H, Feb. 8 – Large crowds, bitter temperatures and snow present challenges to a wheelchair user like me; those were inconveniences I encountered at every event on my recent Iowa trip, but they pale in comparison to the issues people with disabilities deal with throughout the United States every day.  Now I am in New Hampshire, still pressing candidates to talk more about policies that effect the disability community. Fully 70 percent of the 56 million people with disabilities nationwide are not employed. People in the disability community encounter poverty, dependency and stigma. I am honored to bring these issues to the attention of presidential candidates, many of whom are unaware of the daunting challenges people with disabilities face.

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Cruz: ADA will Continue Under a Cruz Presidency

Windham, N.H., Feb. 2 – Sen. Ted Cruz affirmed his commitment to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) on Tuesday.

“When it comes to people with disabilities, I give you my commitment,” Cruz said in Windham during a town hall. “I will do everything I can as president to expand their independence, to expand their ability to work meaningfully, to empower them to have access and the ability to work and provide for themselves. I think that is a human dignity that every human being should be able and is entitled to be able to experience.”

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Carson: People Need More Incentives to Work

Des Moines, Iowa, Jan. 10 – Dr. Ben Carson has previously called for privately funded organizations, not the government, to help people with disabilities gain employment. This past Wednesday in Panora, Iowa, the presidential hopeful reiterated the need for work, stating “too many people have an incentive not to work, when low wage jobs pay less than government benefits.”

While he did not specify people with disabilities, they fall into this broad statement. Fully one-in-five Americans have a disability and polls show that most of them want to work. Yet 70 percent of working-age Americans with disabilities are outside of the workforce. This leads to poverty and costs taxpayers billions of dollars in disability benefits.

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Huckabee Has Proven Record of Hiring People with Disabilities

Newton, Iowa, Jan. 3 – Republican presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee says just because a person has a disability, it does not mean he has a disability to serve. More than just talk, he walked the walk by hiring people with disabilities while governor of Arkansas.

“I hired a number of people in my office who are disabled,” Huckabee said during a town hall on Saturday. He listed his chief of constituents services, who was blind since birth, assistant director of legal services, who was deaf, and director of human services, who was a paraplegic.

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RespectAbility Hosts Debate Watching Party and Tweet Up

Rockville, Md., Oct. 13 – RespectAbility hosted the first of many debate watch parties at our new offices in Rockville, Md. Members of the disability community and other community leaders joined together to enjoy a night of networking over pizza and watching episodes of West Wing while waiting for the debate to begin.

RespectAbility staff and guests tweeted about the important issues candidates raised concerning the disability community. While disability issues were not a leading topic during the first Democratic primary debate, some important discussions revolved around both disabled veterans and mental health issues.

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