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Category: #PwDsVote 2016 Questionnaire

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.

There are 56 million people with disabilities (one in five Americans), more than 35 million of whom are eligible voters (one-sixth of the electorate). The poll showed that half of voters either have a disability or a loved one with a disability.

RespectAbility, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization working to end stigmas and advance opportunities for people with disabilities, reached out to candidates for president, governor and U.S. Senate – requesting them to complete the #PwDsVote disability questionnaire on multiple disability topics ranging from employment, education, violence and abuse, criminal justice, healthcare and more.

On the presidential level former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton filled out the full questionnaire. Mr. Trump did not. However, both Clinton and Trump completed the AAPD/NCIL presidential questionnaire.

Forty down ballot candidates, including 26 for Senate and 11 for governor, from both sides of the aisle (25 Democrats, 14 Republicans, 1 Green Party) responded to the #PwDsVote questionnaire, showing that disability rights is a nonpartisan issue. The responses also were geographically diverse, coming from states all around the country as politicians are paying more and more attention to the disability community.

Of those who responded, 11 candidates have won their election as of Wednesday morning. These include Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC), Atty. Gen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Rep. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Atty. Gen. Kamala Harris (D-CA), Gov. Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), all of whom have won their senate races; Rep. John Carney (D-DE), Gov. Steve Bullock (D-MT) and Lt. Gov. Phil Scott (R-VT), who won races for governor; and Rep. Jim Langevin (D-RI), who has won re-election to Congress. Please follow the links in the table below to read more about each of these candidates’ disability policies that affect 56 million Americans.

State Winning Candidate Race
California Atty. Gen. Kamala Harris (D) Senate
Delaware Rep. John Carney (D) Governor
Illinois Rep. Tammy Dukworth (D) Senate
Maryland Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D) Senate
Montana Gov. Steve Bullock (D) Governor
Nevada Atty. Gen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D) Senate
New Hampshire Gov. Maggie Hassan (D) Senate
North Carolina Sen. Richard Burr (R) Senate
Rhode Island Rep. Jim Langevin (D) Congress
Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy (D) Senate
Vermont Lt. Gov. Phil Scott (R) Governor

Candidates on Community Living for People with Disabilities

Washington, Nov. 7 – Many individuals with disabilities choose to receive home and community based services such as personal care attendants instead of living in an institution. Indeed, studies show it is more cost effective to do so than to live in institutionalized settings such as nursing homes where people with disabilities can no longer participate and contribute to society by working and paying taxes.

Yet coverage of personal care attendant services is available only through Medicaid waivers, and many states have extensive waiting lists. This also becomes a barrier to employment for many individuals with disabilities who lose Medicaid services that provide these and other home and community based services if they choose to work. Other people with disabilities who are not eligible for Medicaid are unable to work to begin with due to lack of personal care attendant coverage through private insurance or Medicare. In 2014, of the 7,224,420 individuals with independent living disabilities aged 18 to 
64 years living in the community, just 1,146,316 individuals were employed – that is only 15.9 percent.

As part of the #PwDsVote Disability Questionnaire, the nonpartisan nonprofit disability organization RespectAbility asked candidates running for Senate or Governor about their plans to address these issues. Every candidate was given an equal opportunity to address these issues and if they are not listed, it is because they declined to answer.

Many of the candidates also talked about the Disability Integration Act (DIA), which was introduced in the Senate in December 2015 by Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) to ensure that people with disabilities needing help with everyday tasks who previously have been forced into institutions would have the opportunity to instead live in their homes with appropriate aid.

The quotes in this article are the candidates’ answers to question 9 in the gubernatorial/senate questionnaire: “Do you have a plan to provide home and community-based services to people with disabilities who would rather live in their own homes instead of institutions, and have the community attendant supports they need to work? “ 

Democrats and Republicans agree there is a need for home and community-based services to be available for individuals with disabilities who would rather live in their own homes than in an institution or nursing home.

“Much of our ability to provide community-based services is reliant on the workforce, which supports these services. My recently created Health Care Workforce Commission is working to address how to grow, support and professionalize New Hampshire’s Direct Support Professionals (DSPs),” responded Gov. Maggie Hassan, a Democrat running for the U.S. Senate seat in New Hampshire. “And in the Senate, I will advocate for measures like the Disability Integration Act to expand access to home and community-based services for people with disabilities.”

Republican incumbent Sen. Kelly Ayotte also talked about her support for caregivers in her response, listing her support for the Recognize, Assist, Include, Support, and Engage (RAISE) Family Caregivers Act and the Home Health Care Planning Improvement Act.

“I have been a leader in the Senate fighting for policies to support family caregivers, who care for family members and loved ones in the comfort of their own homes,” Ayotte responded. “I am a co-founder of the Assisting Caregivers Today Caucus, which works to bring greater awareness to the issues facing family caregivers, including more than 268,000 in New Hampshire.”

Check out all of the candidates’ full answers below:

Rhode Island’s Jim Langevin Completes #PwDsVote Campaign Questionnaire

headshot of Jim Langevin
Rep. Jim Langevin (D-RI)

Washington, Nov. 7 – RespectAbility, a nonprofit organization working to empower people with disabilities to achieve the American dream, has asked Senate and gubernatorial candidates on both sides of the aisle to fill out a questionnaire on disability issues. Other down ballot candidates who requested a copy of the questionnaire also were invited to complete it. Democrat Rep. Jim Langevin, who is running for reelection for Rhode Island’s 2nd congressional district, completed the questionnaire. His opponent, Republican Rhue Reis, also was sent a copy but has not responded yet.

RespectAbility is nonpartisan and does not endorse candidates. The questionnaire is purely for educational purposes.

Langevin, who acquired a disability prior to the enactment of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), has spoken often about the importance of inclusion of people with disabilities.

“To so many of us, I have to say the ADA has probably altered the paradigm, providing new opportunities and fundamentally changing the way society views and treats us,” he said at an event on the sidelines of the DNC in July. “We are much, much closer to realizing the goal and the dream of equality, our full participation, independent living and economic self-sufficiency of people with disabilities everywhere. In so doing, I know that then we will fully, truly realize the full potential of the ADA for generations to come.”

Currently, Rhode Island ranks 32nd in the country in terms of the state’s employment rate of people with disabilities. Only 33.9 percent of Rhode Island’s 63,400 working-age people with disabilities are employed. Further, as of 2013, there are 5,000 youth with disabilities between the ages of 16 and 20. Each year, one quarter of them will transition out of the school system and into an uncertain future.

Rhode Island’s voters are looking to know where the candidates stand on important disability issues in order to increase opportunities for competitive, integrated employment for people with disabilities and foster a more inclusive society.

We are presenting Langevin’s answers in full below.

Candidates Talk Accessibility for People with Disabilities

Washington, Nov. 3 – In theory, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) opened the door to employment for many people with physical disabilities by requiring that buildings be physically accessible. In practice, however, workplace accessibility for many people with disabilities is far from universal.

Many employers have offices in buildings that predate the ADA and therefore don’t have elevators, accessible bathrooms or necessary assistive technology for people of all abilities to be able to work there. In addition, the ADA exempts companies with fewer than 15 employees from having to abide by ADA standards, so many miss out on a chance to work for a smaller organization.

Therefore, as part of the #PwDsVote Disability Questionnaire, the nonpartisan, nonprofit disability organization RespectAbility asked candidates running for president, senate or governor about their plans to address this issue. Every candidate was given an equal opportunity to respond and if they are not listed, it is because they declined to answer.

Many campaigns lack basic accessibility – from websites being accessible for people using screen readers to videos lacking captions for the 37.5 million American adults who are deaf or hard of hearing. In addition, not all campaign events are ADA accessible, including parking, entrances and bathrooms. Many lacked ASL interpreters and live captioning services.

The quotes in this article are the candidates’ answers to questions 1 and 2 in the gubernatorial/senate questionnaire: “Do you have designated advisors and clear processes for making decisions on disability issues? Is your campaign accessible and inclusive to people with disabilities?” These were adapted from similar questions, numbers 1 and 11, in the presidential questionnaire.

In Delaware, both candidates for the open gubernatorial seat have worked to ensure they have accessible campaigns by seeking input from both family members and constituents with disabilities. Whomever wins will have big shoes to fill as current Delaware Gov. Jack Markell, who is term limited, is a hero to the disability community. Markell was awarded recognition by RespectAbility this summer for his leadership nationally in creating more job opportunities for people with disabilities.

“I have learned about disability issues from constituent calls seeking assistance as well as disability community meetings as a member of the legislature,” Republican State Sen. Colin Bonini replied. “We hold meet and greets at various locations including restaurants. We ask the locations if their events are accessible prior to setting an event up and it is our goal to hold events at locations that are accessible.”

“I have strong relationships with members of Delaware’s disabilities community, and I rely on them for advice and guidance on how to best serve the needs of those with disabilities,” Democrat Rep. John Carney replied. “My campaign welcomes all Delawareans to share their thoughts and concerns about the future of our state. We ensure that our offices and community events are always accessible for anyone who wishes to participate in the election process.”

Check out all of the candidates’ full responses below:

Candidates Talk Housing for People with Disabilities

Washington, Nov. 3 – While people began thinking differently about design and accessibility following the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in 1990, many people with disabilities are unable to find accessible and affordable housing still today.

Therefore, as part of the #PwDsVote Disability Questionnaire, the nonpartisan, nonprofit disability organization RespectAbility asked candidates running for president, senate or governor about their plans to address this issue. Every candidate was given an equal opportunity to respond and if they are not listed, it is because they declined to answer.

The cost of housing for all people has been rising higher and higher. According to a report by Disability Statistics, 28.1 percent of people with disabilities, ages 21-64, were living below the poverty line in 2014. As a result, 41 percent of individuals with disabilities could not afford housing. People with disabilities face more challenges in finding employment opportunities. With no or low-paying jobs, many individuals with disabilities are unable to afford an accessible housing complex.

35.1 million housing complexes have one or more people living with a disability in them, each with unique needs. A wheelchair user, for example, needs to not only be able to enter a building with a ramp and have an elevator available to use if not on the ground floor but also needs wide enough hallways and accessible bathrooms. Furthermore, the housing itself needs to be in a location where it can be easily accessible to employment opportunities, as transportation is not always accessible either.

The quotes in this article are the candidates’ answers to question 14 of the gubernatorial/senate questionnaire: “Do you have a plan for accessible, affordable, integrated housing to allow people with disabilities to live in the communities where they work or are seeking work?” This was adapted from a similar question, number 13, in the presidential questionnaire.

Both Democrats and Republicans recognize that people with disabilities should be able to afford accessible housing in their communities near local employment opportunities.

“It is essential to enable people with disabilities to live in the communities where they work,” responded Democrat Gov. Maggie Hassan, who is running for the senate seat representing New Hampshire. “In the Senate I am committed to ensuring accessible, affordable, integrated housing for those who need it.”

Her opponent, Republican incumbent Sen. Kelly Ayotte, called for tax credits.

“I support expanding the low-income housing tax credit (LIHTC) program to help create or preserve approximately 1.3 million affordable homes over a 10-year period—an increase of 400,000 more units than is possible under the current program,” she responded. “I also support the HOME Investment Partnerships program, which provides federal block grants to states and localities to meet their diverse affordable housing needs.”

Check out all of the candidates’ full responses below:

What Do Candidates Say About People with Disabilities in the Criminal Justice System?

Washington, Nov. 3 – In the past year, discussions of minorities in the criminal justice system frequently have appeared in the media. People with disabilities have a high rate of involvement with the criminal justice system, but often are left out of these conversations. Approximately 32 percent of prisoners and…

What Do Candidates Say About People with Disabilities Regarding Transportation Issues?

Washington, Nov. 3 – While the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) has enabled many people with disabilities to have physical access and more rights, numerous challenges still remain. Fully 70 percent of working-age people with disabilities do not have a job, the same rate it was when the ADA was passed…

Candidates Talk About their Plans for Employment and People with Disabilities

Washington, Nov. 2 – While 72 percent of Americans without disabilities are employed, only 32 percent of Americans with disabilities are. However, two-thirds of Americans with disabilities report that they want to work and are unable to find a job. Some of the barriers to work people with disabilities encounter are a lack of sufficient education or training, employer or coworker attitudes, and the need for job accommodations.

People with disabilities are particularly underrepresented in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM), which are where the fastest growing careers are located. Barriers to higher education for people with disabilities along with inaccessible laboratories and workshops are two reasons why STEM fields are particularly lacking in employees with disabilities. Despite these barriers, people with disabilities have made significant contributions to the STEM fields. The White House recently honored 14 people with disabilities working in STEM fields as Champions for Change, showing the capabilities of people with disabilities if they are given access to all fields of employment.

As part of the #PwDsVote Disability Questionnaire, the nonpartisan, nonprofit disability organization RespectAbility asked candidates running for president, senate or governor about their plans for promoting employment among people with disabilities. Every candidate was given an equal opportunity to respond and if they are not listed, it is because they declined to answer.

The quotes in this article are the candidates’ answers to question 5 in the gubernatorial/senate questionnaire: “Do you have a proven record on enabling, or a plan to enable, people with disabilities to have jobs, careers and to start their own businesses? Do you have specific strategies for youth employment for people with disabilities and/or sector strategies such as jobs and careers in STEM, hospitality, healthcare and elder care?” This was adapted from a similar question, number 3, in the presidential questionnaire.

Though the candidates proposed a variety of solutions to improve employment for people with disabilities, candidates from both the Republican and Democratic parties brought up their support for the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) and the Work Opportunity Tax Credit for veterans.

“As a member of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, I worked closely with fellow committee members to draft and pass H.R. 803, the Workforce Innovation & Opportunity Act, legislation containing specific language to promote the employment of individuals with disabilities,” said Rep. Joe Heck, a Republican running for Senate in Nevada. “Once that bill was signed into law, I sent several letters to the Departments of Education and Labor to ensure it is properly implemented, particularly the provisions dealing with the “competitive integrated employment” rules for disabled workers.”

His opponent, Democrat Atty. Gen. Catherine Cortez Masto, called for more support for small business owners and entrepreneurs with disabilities, as well as increased training opportunities.

“I support greater access to workforce training and apprenticeship programs in community colleges, high schools and vocational schools aimed at training our workforce for 21st century jobs,” she replied. “I would encourage participation from youth with disabilities to train for careers in these fields.”

You can read the candidates’ full responses below:

Where do Candidates Stand on Healthcare for People with Disabilities?

Washington, Nov. 2 – A key topic of conversation in the political campaign is the Affordable Care Act, known to many as “Obamacare.” One of the goals of the Affordable Care Act was to ensure that people with pre-existing conditions (like a disability) are able to afford health insurance and receive proper care. The Affordable Care Act made it illegal for health insurances to not accept a person regardless of pre-existing conditions. The Arc of Opportunity has additional information for individuals with disabilities seeking health insurance.

As part of the #PwDsVote Disability Questionnaire, the nonpartisan, nonprofit disability organization RespectAbility asked candidates running for president, senate or governor about their plans to address these issues. While many had plans regarding healthcare of people with disabilities, several had specific plans for healthcare reformations of people with disabilities. Every candidate was given an equal opportunity to address these issues and if they are not listed, it is because they declined to answer.

Of the one in five Americans with a disability, 13.3 percent lack any health insurance as of 2014. Furthermore, individuals with disabilities are more likely to receive poor health care plans.

There are several factors leading to people with disabilities having no or subpar health care – from inaccessible physical environments to social stigma and expectations. Many face the lack of inaccessible medical equipment and trained health professionals prohibiting them from getting fundamental primary and preventative care from their doctors. For example, people with physical disabilities may not be able to transfer to high examination tables. Individuals who are deaf face a language barrier with limited available ASL interpreters.

Even without a disability creating an access issue, many people with disabilities are not able to afford the growing costs of healthcare, even with new insurance options that cover people with pre-existing conditions. In fact, 15 percent of people with disabilities have not seen a doctor because it was too costly to do so, compared to just six percent of the general population.

While six percent of people without disabilities report they are in fair or poor health, 31 percent of people with disabilities report fair or poor health. The statistics are even worse for people with multiple minority statuses (i.e. African American or Hispanic with a disability). Among adults with a disability, 55.2 percent of Hispanic persons, and 46.6 percent of African Americans, report fair or poor health, as compared with 36.9 percent of white people with a disability.

The quotes in this article are the candidates’ answers to question 7 and 8 in the gubernatorial/senate questionnaire: “Do you have a plan to reform the benefits system (Medicaid, Medicaid buyin) to enable people with disabilities to work to the best of their capacities without losing supports they need to work? Do you have a plan to ensure people with disabilities are eligible for affordable health insurance regardless of preexisting conditions?” These were adapted from similar questions, numbers 6 and 7, in the presidential questionnaire.

From looking at the question 7 responses, Democrats and Republicans both agreed that people with disabilities need an opportunity to work, if they choose to do so, without losing necessary healthcare support.

Republican incumbent Sen. Richard Burr touted the ABLE Act as one of his “greatest legislative achievements.” The ABLE Act allows people with disabilities to have assets up to $100,000 while still being eligible for Social Security Insurance; previously, people with disabilities could lose medical benefits if they had more than $2,000 in savings.

“This limit was consigning people with disabilities to a life of poverty, a policy that I found to be unjust and immoral,” Burr replied in the questionnaire. “But thanks to the ABLE Act, people with disabilities will now have the ability to save and build assets without losing supports.”

His opponent, Democrat State Rep. Deborah Ross, agreed with reform. “We should reform Medicaid so that it incentivizes folks to work without the risk of losing the benefits they need,” she replied.

While the replies to question 8 varied in support for the Affordable Care Act, politicians from both sides of the aisle agreed that people with preexisting conditions should be able to receive health insurance.

“Exempting people from insurance because of pre-existing conditions is no longer allowed under current federal law,” Republican Del. Kathy Szeliga, who is running for the open senate seat in Maryland, responded. “This is one aspect of the Obamacare that I wholeheartedly supported and I will fight to make sure it remains the law of the land.”

Democrat Rep. Chris Van Hollen was “part of the fight to get the Affordable Care Act (ACA) passed into law.”

“This historic reform legislation has expanded affordable coverage for millions of Americans,” he responded. “Today, 20 million previously uninsured Americans have health insurance coverage. Americans with pre-existing conditions are no longer denied coverage or treatment through private health plans, Medicaid, and Medicare.”

Check out all of the candidates’ full responses below:

Disability & Foreign Policy: What are Senate Candidates’ Positions?

Washington, Nov. 1 – America is known for its history of standing up for people who are oppressed around the world. As that tradition moves forward, it includes the rights of people with disabilities.

The nonpartisan, nonprofit disability organization RespectAbility asked candidates running for Senate about their foreign policy and national security plans to continue America’s tradition of standing up for the rights of people with disabilities around the world as part of its #PwDsVote Disability Questionnaire. Every candidate was given an equal opportunity to respond and if they are not listed, it is because they declined to answer.

The quotes in this article are the candidates’ answers to question 17 in the Senate questionnaire: “In your foreign policy and national security plan, do you plan to continue America’s tradition of standing up for the rights of oppressed people, including people with disabilities, around the world?” This was adapted from a similar question, number 16, in the presidential questionnaire.

Overwhelmingly from both sides of the aisle, political candidates answered in the affirmative.

“Our country should support any nation in achieving a level of disability rights and opportunities available to those living with disabilities in the United States,” Democrat North Carolina State Rep. Deborah Ross replied.

Her opponent, Republican incumbent Sen. Richard Burr, agreed that the United States “has a responsibility to set the highest possible standard.” He added: “The United States also has the ability to influence the behavior of other nations in how they treat their citizens. It is important that America’s leaders continue to use every opportunity in international fora to speak out on behalf of the oppressed, including people with disabilities who are being mistreated.”

Many candidates also talked about their support for the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disability (CRPD) treaty, which is supported by hundreds of disability organizations and Democrats and Republicans alike. CRPD’s goal is to protect the rights of people with disabilities globally. Inspired by the framework of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the CRPD was signed by the United Nations in 2009. On December 4, 2012, the Senate considered the ratification of the act, but it fell five votes shy of a supermajority vote. Opponents raised questions about U.S. sovereignty and other issues. Since that failure, there has been a call for ratification in subsequent congresses, with a strong possibility for a vote in the 115th Congress.

In Illinois, both Republican Sen. Mark Kirk and Democrat Rep. Tammy Duckworth are passionate proponents of the measure. Kirk recently became a member of the disability community after having a stroke in 2012 and Duckworth joined the community after injuries sustained in 2004 in Iraq.

“In 2014, Senator Kirk encouraged Senate ratification on this measure and stated that the CRPD will ensure that our wounded warriors and disabled citizens are entitled to the same rights and protections around the world that they enjoy here at home,” his campaign wrote in the questionnaire.

Duckworth, like Kirk, testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. In her response to the questionnaire, she said she “didn’t risk my life in Iraq to come back to a country that ignores human rights atrocities and turns its back on those in need” and stressed the need to “ensure the long-term safety of Americans at home and abroad.”

Check out all of the candidates’ full responses below:

Veterans & Disability: What are the Candidates’ Positions?

Washington, Nov. 1 – As veterans complete their service to their country, they require employment to sustain a living, provide a place to live and contribute as they reenter civilian life. There are currently 495,000 veterans who are unemployed. Many of them need job training and/or psychological counseling for post-traumatic…

Candidates Discuss Plans for America’s Assistive Technology Industry

Washington, Nov. 1 – The technology industry in the United States is growing, with 200,000 jobs added to the industry in 2015, bringing the total of U.S. tech industry workers up to 6.7 million. This growth provides ample opportunity for innovation in the field of assistive technology. Assistive technology promotes greater…

Where do Candidates Stand on Police Violence and Crime Against People with Disabilities?

Washington, Oct. 31 – Nearly half of all people killed by police in the U.S. have a disability. Yesterday Terrance Coleman, a black man with paranoia and schizophrenia, was shot and killed by two police officers in Boston. Coleman’s mother had called for an ambulance to take her son to a hospital and the police officers arrived to accompany the EMTs. They shot him when he refused to leave with the EMTs; there are conflicting reports if Coleman had touched a knife that was on a nearby kitchen table.

The week prior Deborah Danner, a black woman with schizophrenia, was shot and killed by a New York City police sergeant. The police knew of her disability and had been called to her apartment before, but this time the officer did not follow protocol for dealing with someone with a mental illness.

While the vast majority of officers only want to protect the community they patrol, officers not properly trained in dealing with people with disabilities are bound to make mistakes. Resources such as the new Police-Mental Health Collaboration Toolkit have been designed to help police learn how to interact with people who have disabilities.

Violence against people with disabilities is a larger issue than just police brutality, however. People with disabilities, particularly those with cognitive disabilities, often are targets for bullying, assault and robbery. The most recent statistics available found that the rate of violent crime against people with disabilities is twice that of violence against people without disabilities.

As part of the #PwDsVote Disability Questionnaire, the nonpartisan nonprofit disability organization RespectAbility asked candidates running for Senate or Governor about their plans to address the issue of violence against people with disabilities. Every candidate was given an equal opportunity to respond and if they are not listed, it is because they declined to answer. The quotes in this article are the candidates’ answers to question 11 in the gubernatorial/senate questionnaire: “People with disabilities are twice as likely to be victims of crime as those without disabilities. People with disabilities also are far more likely to suffer from police violence, partially because manifestations of disability can be misunderstood as defiant behavior. Do you have a plan to address these issues?” This was adapted from a similar question, number nine, in the presidential questionnaire.

The majority of both Republicans (66 percent) and Democrats (74 percent) acknowledged a need for more police training and education about how to handle situations that involve people with disabilities.

“News reports over the past few years have included tragic accounts of the deaths of people with disabilities during confrontations with police, and this is something that we must take seriously,” said Sen. Richard Burr, who is a Republican running for re-election in North Carolina. “I support full funding for programs to train our law enforcement officers so that they are properly prepared for interactions with people with disabilities.”

Burr’s opponent, Democrat State Rep. Deborah Ross, also called for more training. “We must increase police training on how to work with people suffering from mental illnesses, reduced cognitive abilities, or other disabilities.” Ross replied. “We must also protect people with disabilities from discrimination, stigma, poor health, and violent crime.”

Check out all of the candidates’ full responses below:

Candidates Discuss Plans for Students with Disabilities

Washington, Oct. 31 – Only 65 percent of youth with disabilities graduate high school, 19 percent less than students without disabilities, found a White House study earlier this month. Youth who do not graduate high school are more likely to be involved in the criminal justice system and have a more difficult time entering the workforce.

More than 6.5 million students in public education receive services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), including special education or other accommodations to help them succeed. Studies have shown, however, that students in higher education have a harder time accessing proper accommodations.

As part of the #PwDsVote Disability Questionnaire, the nonpartisan nonprofit disability organization RespectAbility asked candidates running for president, senate or governor about their plans for the improving education for youth with disabilities. Every candidate was given an equal opportunity to respond and if they are not listed, it is because they declined to answer.

The quotes in this article are the candidates’ answers to question six in the gubernatorial/senate questionnaire: “Do you have a plan to enable students with disabilities, including those from historically marginalized communities and backgrounds, to receive the diagnosis, Individualized Education Plan (IEP) and accommodations/services they need to succeed in school and be prepared for competitive employment?” This was adapted from a similar question, number five, in the presidential questionnaire.

While Democrats and Republicans are divided on many education specifics, when it comes to educating youth with disabilities, candidates from both sides of the aisle spoke of their support for IDEA, the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) and Individualized Education Plans (IEPs).

“Last year, I worked with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to pass a much needed update to our nation’s education policy, and the Every Student Succeeds Act was signed into law in December 2015,” responded Sen. Kelly Ayotte, who is a Republican running for re-election in New Hampshire. “This important legislation will truly ensure that every student has the opportunities they need to succeed in the classroom and be prepared for their futures.”

“My first position in public service was serving on the Advisory Committee to the Adequacy in Education and Finance Commission, and I have continued this advocacy throughout my time in public office,” wrote current New Hampshire Gov. Maggie Hassan, a Democrat running for the senate seat. “I will continue to push for these priorities in the U.S. Senate, and I will work to fully fund the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) to make good on Congress’ commitment to support special education.”

You can read the candidates’ full responses below:

North Carolina’s Linda Coleman Completes #PwDsVote Campaign Questionnaire

Washington, Oct. 21 – RespectAbility, a nonprofit organization working to empower people with disabilities to achieve the American dream, has asked Senate and gubernatorial candidates on both sides of the aisle to fill out a questionnaire on disability issues. Other down ballot candidates who requested a copy of the questionnaire also were…

North Carolina’s Bruce Davis Completes #PwDsVote Campaign Questionnaire

Washington, Oct. 21 – RespectAbility, a nonprofit organization working to empower people with disabilities to achieve the American dream, has asked Senate and gubernatorial candidates on both sides of the aisle to fill out a questionnaire on disability issues. Other down ballot candidates who requested a copy of the questionnaire also were…

Delaware’s John Carney Completes #PwDsVote Gubernatorial Campaign Questionnaire

Washington, Oct. 17 – RespectAbility, a nonprofit organization working to empower people with disabilities to achieve the American dream, has asked gubernatorial candidates on both sides of the aisle to fill out a questionnaire on disability issues. Democrat Rep. John Carney, who is seeking the open governorship in Delaware, completed the #PwDsVote Disability…

Hawaii’s John Carroll Completes #PwDsVote Senate Campaign Questionnaire

Washington, Oct. 17 – RespectAbility, a nonprofit organization working to empower people with disabilities to achieve the American dream, has asked Senate candidates on both sides of the aisle to fill out a questionnaire on disability issues. Republican John Carroll, who is challenging Democrat incumbent Sen. Brian Schatz for the senate seat representing…

Montana’s Steve Bullock Responds to #PwDsVote Governor Campaign Questionnaire

Washington, Oct. 17 – RespectAbility, a nonprofit organization working to empower people with disabilities to achieve the American dream, has asked gubernatorial candidates on both sides of the aisle to fill out a questionnaire on disability issues. Democrat incumbent Gov. Steve Bullock, as well as his challenger Republican Greg Gianforte, responded to the #PwDsVote Disability…

Ohio’s Joe DeMare Completes #PwDsVote Senate Campaign Questionnaire

Washington, Oct. 16 – RespectAbility, a nonprofit organization working to empower people with disabilities to achieve the American dream, has asked Senate candidates on both sides of the aisle to fill out a questionnaire on disability issues. While Democrat Ted Strickland and Republican Rob Portman have not completed the questionnaire, Green Party candidate Joe DeMare,…