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Author archive for: LAppelbaum

Supreme Court Case Could Determine Education for Students with Disabilities

Washington, Jan. 13 – Earlier this week, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in a critical case for children with disabilities, Endrew F. v. Douglas County School District, one of the most important education cases in decades.

In 1975, Congress passed a federal law requiring school districts to provide a “free appropriate public education” for children with disabilities, which includes individualized education plan (IEP) for students to be included in public schools. The law also provided federal funds for these services. The act was renamed the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) in 1990. Unfortunately, IDEA has never been fully funded, leading to some school districts struggling to keep up.

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Polling Shows People with Disabilities Split Vote Between Trump and Clinton

Near unanimous bipartisan agreement that a candidate should treat people with disabilities with dignity and respect

Download the slide presentation with all poll data (PDF or accessible PPT).

Washington, Dec. 14 – Two separate bipartisan polls showed results that may surprise Washington insiders: voters with disabilities and their family and friends voted in big numbers for President-elect Donald Trump. While polls showed that many voters felt Trump made fun of people with disabilities, he was seen as stronger on changing Washington and failed economic policies that hold people with disabilities back.

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Disability Champion McMorris Rodgers Not Offered Cabinet Position

Washington, Dec. 13 – While earlier reports had said President-elect Donald Trump would be announcing five-term Washington Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers as his choice for Secretary of the Interior, Politico has reported that the position has been offered to Montana’s freshman Rep. Ryan Zinke instead.

When asked by KING 5 whether she would accept a job in Trump administration, McMorris Rodgers had said, “I am interested in helping rethink this federal government. I’m focused on representing the people of eastern Washington, and we’ll see if anything happens.”

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Trump’s Pick to Head National Economic Council Openly Talks About His Dyslexia

Washington, Dec. 9 – News outlets are reporting that President-elect Donald Trump will name Goldman Sachs veteran, Gary Cohn, to head the National Economic Council, where he would have significant influence over the administration’s economic policy, including corporate taxes and U.S. trade policy.

Cohn, who has dyslexia, credits this disability with leading to many of his successes.  As a child growing up in Cleveland, Ohio, he was called an “idiot” by teachers and classmates. Yet Cohn graduated from both high school and college, something the majority of students with disabilities do not do. After graduation, he found a job in sales for U.S. Steel and later took a chance that led him to Wall Street.

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Trump’s New Labor Secretary Needs to Focus on Jobs for People with Disabilities

Washington, Dec. 8 – As news reports say President-elect Donald Trump is expected to nominate fast-food executive Andy Puzder as labor secretary, RespectAbility congratulates Puzder on the nomination but encourages both Trump and Puzder to include people with disabilities in their jobs programs.

An adviser and contributor to Trump’s campaign, Puzder is the chief executive of CKE Restaurants Holdings Inc., the parent company of the Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s burger chains, which employs more than 20,000 people.

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Burr (NC-R), Hassan (NH-D), Van Hollen (MD-D) Highlighted Disability in Campaign TV Ads

Washington, Nov. 12 – Multiple winning Senate campaigns touted their work on disability issues in television ads as a new poll shows that addressing disability issues is a winning campaign strategy.

In the final days of the election season, Rep. Chris Van Hollen, a Democrat who won the open U.S. Senate seat in Maryland, highlighted his work on the passage of the bipartisan Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) to Work Act, legislation that enables people with disabilities and their families to save money in special ABLE savings accounts without risking their eligibility for government benefits.

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Honoring All Veterans on Veterans Day: What are Trump’s policies for veterans with disabilities?

Washington, Nov. 11 – As the nation celebrates Veterans Day, it is important to truly remember our veterans and ensure we are taking care of their needs.

One of their top priorities is employment. Government policies that help veterans with disabilities get and keep jobs are a win-win because they allow veterans the dignity and financial benefits of work and also grow our economy and save taxpayer money.

One year ago, President Elect Donald Trump said, “I will” when asked if he is committed to getting more veterans and people with disabilities employed.

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Trump Cabinet Possibilities: Where is the Disability Representation?

Washington, Nov. 10 – RespectAbility has obtained an internal document from the Trump transition team titled “Trump Cabinet Possibilities.” We have been told the people listed below currently are being vetted for 22 key posts within the Trump administration.

Looking at the list, it is clear that few of the people have any experience in working with the disability community and none of them self-identify publicly as being people with disabilities themselves.

“Fully one-in-five Americans has a disability and the majority of Americans have a loved one with a disability,” RespectAbility President Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi said. “It is vital for the Trump administration to reflect America, including talented people with disabilities. The administration needs people who have real, proven experience in enabling people with disabilities to receive the education and training they need to succeed in gaining jobs and independence.”

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Hassan, Advocate for People with Disabilities, Wins New Hampshire Senate Bid

Washington, Nov. 9 – In New Hampshire, Democrat Gov. Maggie Hassan beat Republican incumbent Sen. Kelly Ayotte for the Senate seat in one of the most closely watched and evenly matched races.

Hassan’s first ad told the story of her son Ben, who has cerebral palsy, is a wheelchair user and is nonverbal. As the Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza pointed out, the ad “grounds Hassan’s reason for going into public service in her own life story.”

She praised all the families that came before hers “who made his inclusion possible.”

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Gov. Bullock, Supporter of People with Disabilities, Wins Re-election

Washington, Nov 9 – Incumbent Democrat Gov. Steve Bullock has won re-election, beating Republican Greg Gianforte.

Bullock completed the #PwDsVote Disability Questionnaire for presidential, senate and gubernatorial candidates put out by RespectAbility, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization working to end stigmas and advance opportunities for people with disabilities. Gianforte also responded to the questionnaire.

In his response to the questionnaire, Bullock focused on employment, independent community living, veterans with disabilities, education, healthcare, caregivers support and workforce development issues.

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Down Ballot Candidates who Support Opportunities for People with Disabilities Win Big

Washington, Nov. 9 – RespectAbility congratulates Mr. Donald Trump on his win of the presidency and looks forward to working with his new administration in the future and sincerely hopes he will work with diverse parts of America in every sense of the word.

Looking down ballot, several senate and gubernatorial candidates who support opportunities for people with disabilities (PwDs) won big Tuesday night – confirming the results from a new poll released last week. The poll showed that voters were more likely to support candidates who prioritize ensuring that children with disabilities get the education and training they need to succeed as well expanding job and career opportunities for people with disabilities. The poll also showed that voters with disabilities overwhelmingly thought that America was on the wrong track.

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Scott, Supporter of People with Disabilities, Victorious in Vermont Gubernatorial Bid

Washington, Nov. 9 – Republican Lt. Gov. Phil Scott beat out Democrat candidate Sue Minter for Vermont’s open governorship.

Scott completed the #PwDsVote Disability Questionnaire for presidential, senate and gubernatorial candidates put out by RespectAbility, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization working to end stigmas and advance opportunities for people with disabilities. Minter also responded to the questionnaire.

Scott mentions in the questionnaire how his commitment to reducing stigmas of people with disabilities led him to write the opening message for the Statewide Independent Living Council’s K-12 curriculum.

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Cortez Masto, First Latina Woman in Senate, Pledges to Fight for Equal Rights for People with Disabilities

Washington, Nov. 8 – Former Democrat Atty. Gen. Catherine Cortez Masto beat three-term Republican Rep. Joe Heck in a close race to fill the seat of Sen. Harry Reid, the Democratic minority leader, who is retiring after three decades in the Senate. She will be the first Latina woman to be in the U.S. Senate.

Cortez Masto completed the #PwDsVote Disability Questionnaire for presidential, senate and gubernatorial candidates put out by RespectAbility, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization working to end stigmas and advance opportunities for people with disabilities. Heck also responded to the questionnaire.

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Kamala Harris Wins California Senate Seat

Washington, Nov. 8 – Democrat Kamala Harris is set to be California’s next U.S. Senator, after beating Loretta Sanchez in this year’s election.

Harris completed the #PwDsVote Disability Questionnaire for presidential, senate and gubernatorial candidates put out by RespectAbility, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization working to end stigmas and advance opportunities for people with disabilities. Sanchez also responded to the questionnaire.

The Harris campaign response spoke of her dedication to supporting legislation that further disability rights.

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Burr Promotes Work on ABLE Act in Campaign, Wins Re-Election

Washington, Nov 8 – North Carolina Republican Sen. Richard M. Burr, a 20-year Republican veteran of Congress, won a tough re-election against Deborah Ross, a Democratic former state director of the American Civil Liberties Union.

Burr completed the #PwDsVote Disability Questionnaire for presidential, senate and gubernatorial candidates put out by RespectAbility, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization working to end stigmas and advance opportunities for people with disabilities. Ross also responded to the questionnaire.

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Duckworth Unseats Kirk, Wins Illinois Senate Seat

Washington, Nov. 8 – In Illinois, Democrat Rep. Tammy Duckworth successfully unseated Republican incumbent Sen. Mark Kirk for the U.S. Senate seat. Duckworth is a military veteran who lost both of her legs in Iraq after the Black Hawk helicopter she was co-piloting was shot down by a rocket-propelled grenade in 2004.

Duckworth completed the #PwDsVote Disability Questionnaire for presidential, senate and gubernatorial candidates put out by RespectAbility, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization working to end stigmas and advance opportunities for people with disabilities. Kirk also responded to the questionnaire.

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Van Hollen, Advocate for People with Disabilities, Victorious in Maryland Senate Bid

Washington, Nov. 8 – In Maryland, Rep. Chris Van Hollen won the race to become the state’s next U.S. Senator, defeating Republican Kathy Szeliga. Van Hollen completed the #PwDsVote Disability Questionnaire for presidential, senate and gubernatorial candidates put out by RespectAbility, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization working to end stigmas and advance opportunities for people with disabilities. Szeliga also responded to the questionnaire.

In his response to the questionnaire, Van Hollen talked about his experience of people with disabilities serving on his staff and through his internship program, informing his views.

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Delaware’s Carney Wins Governorship, Follows in Footsteps of Disability Leader Gov. Markell

Washington, Nov. 8 – Democratic Rep. John Carney has defeated Republican state Sen. Colin Bonini for the open gubernatorial race in Delaware. He completed the #PwDsVote Disability Questionnaire for presidential, senate and gubernatorial candidates put out by RespectAbility, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization working to end stigmas and advance opportunities for people with disabilities. Bonini also responded to the questionnaire.

Carney has big shoes to fill as current Delaware Gov. Jack Markell, who is term limited, is a hero to the disability community. Markell’s leadership as chair of the National Governors Association (NGA) and the Better Bottom Line Initiative sets the stage to ensure best practices for expanding competitive, integrated employment for people with disabilities. He was awarded recognition by RespectAbility this summer for his leadership nationally in creating more job opportunities for people with disabilities.

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Leahy, Supporter of People with Disabilities, Victorious in Re-Election Bid in Vermont

Washington, Nov. 8 – As expected, Sen. Patrick Leahy won reelection for his U.S. Senate seat representing Vermont. During his campaign, the incumbent senator devoted time to completing the #PwDsVote Disability Questionnaire for presidential, senate and gubernatorial candidates put out by RespectAbility, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization working to end stigmas and advance opportunities for people with disabilities. Leahy’s opponent Republican Scott Milne did not respond to the questionnaire.

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Vital Disability Voter Info

Washington, Nov. 8 – Below you will find  four up-to-the-minute resources to help you this election:

  1. State-by-state voter guides on what specifically candidates for president, governor and senate are saying on disability issues.
  2. Guides broken down by issue from candidates across the county.
  3. Straight Q&A’s with candidates on disability issues organized by state. If you do not see a candidate from a presidential, senate or gubernatorial race, it is because the candidate chose not to answer the questionnaire. RespectAbility is nonpartisan and all candidates were given an equal chance to make voters aware of their views on disability issues.
  4. Apps and information on where to vote, how to vote and who to contact if there is an issue. As voters go to the polls, it is vital to know that voters with disabilities have every right to vote. If you have a problem voting due to lack of access for disability, contact 866-OUR-VOTE, or other resources listed below, immediately. Please let us know as well by emailing LaurenA@RespectAbilityUSA.org. View all of this information on one place on our blog: Disability Voter Resource Guide.

NOW PLEASE GO VOTE! THE DISABILITY COMMUNITY IS 56 MILLION CITIZENS STRONG. SHOW YOUR POWER AT THE BALLOT BOX!

Utilizing candidate responses to both the down ballot and presidential campaign questionnaires, RespectAbility has released 51 state voter guides. View your state’s voter guide below:

Alabama Kentucky North Dakota
Alaska Louisiana Ohio
Arizona Maine Oklahoma
Arkansas Maryland Oregon
California Massachusetts Pennsylvania
Colorado Michigan Rhode Island
Connecticut Minnesota South Carolina
Delaware Mississippi South Dakota
Washington, D.C. Missouri Tennessee
Florida Montana Texas
Georgia Nebraska Utah
Hawaii Nevada Vermont
Idaho New Hampshire Virginia
Illinois New Jersey Washington
Indiana New Mexico West Virginia
Iowa New York Wisconsin
Kansas North Carolina Wyoming

RespectAbility fellows, young individuals with disabilities, compiled the responses and packaged stories by topic. Check them out for great policy answers from a wide variety of candidates:

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