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Category archive for: Senate

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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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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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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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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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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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.

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Candidates Detail Disability Policy Positions

Washington, Nov. 4 – A new poll shows that voters are more likely to support candidates who prioritize education, employment and disability policies. So while it’s easy to get stuck in the horse race, readers and viewers are looking for coverage about these important issues. That’s even more true for the 56 million people with disabilities (one in five Americans), more than 35 million of whom are eligible voters (one-sixth of the electorate).

So RespectAbility, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization working to end stigmas and advance opportunities for people with disabilities founded in 2013, asked candidates for president, governor and U.S. Senate 17 questions ranging from topics of employment and housing to education, healthcare and more. Thirty-nine down ballot candidates, including 26 for Senate and 11 for governor, from both sides of the aisle (24 Democrats, 14 Republicans, 1 Green Party) have responded so far, showing that disability rights is a nonpartisan issue. An additional nine candidates responded that they are not completing any questionnaires during this campaign season. The responses also are geographically diverse, coming from states all around the country as politicians are paying more and more attention to the disability community. This is the first time down-ballot candidates have been asked to complete a questionnaire about disability-related issues on such a wide scale.

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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.

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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.

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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 40 percent of jail inmates report having at least one disability, according to a Bureau of Justice Statistics report. These prisoners and inmates often have trouble receiving necessary accommodations while incarcerated, as well as any support needed to transition back into society after their release.

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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 in 1990.

When a person with a disability finds a job, it is vital that they be able to physically go to the job. Many people with disabilities do not drive due to their disability or are unable to afford private transportation.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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 stress disorder (PTSD). There are 3.8 million veterans with a disability. In Iraq and Afghanistan, 50,000 troops received significant injuries, 2.6 percent of whom had a major limb amputation. Of the approximately 2.7 million veterans who served in either Iraq or Afghanistan, nearly 20 percent have PTSD. In 2016 so far, 352,619 soldiers have been diagnosed with PTSD.

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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 independence by enabling people to perform tasks that they were formerly unable to accomplish, or had great difficulty accomplishing, by providing enhancements to, or changing methods of interacting with, the technology needed to accomplish such tasks.

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