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Cruz, Clinton Campaigns Commit to Fixing Drug Addiction Epidemic

Hooksett, N.H., Feb. 4 – In 2014, more than 300 people in New Hampshire died from drug overdose, many due to the spike in heroin use throughout the state. This was the topic at the “New Hampshire Roundtable Discussion on Addiction and the Heroin Epidemic” sponsored by The Addiction Policy Forum. Sen. Ted Cruz addressed the crowd and then joined a roundtable discussion including a representative for former Secretary Hillary Clinton. Key stakeholders from law enforcement, prevention, treatment and recovery as well as families affected by addiction made up the rest of the roundtable.

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Rubio’s Family Forms Foundation for His Support of Disability Issues

Bow, N.H., Feb. 3 – Rubio credits his father and grandfather with shaping his views about people with disabilities.

“The two most influential men growing up in my life were my father and my grandfather. They both happened to be disabled,” presidential candidate Marco Rubio said in Bow, New Hampshire on Wednesday.

Rubio said his grandfather raised seven kids in Cuba without the use of his leg following developing polio as a young child, after which a bus accident further hurt the leg.

“You can imagine how difficult it was in a developing country for a disabled man to find work,” said Rubio.

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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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Christie Calls for Increased Access to Homecare Services and Group Homes

Nashua, N.H., Feb. 2 – New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is calling for people with disabilities to be able to live with their families in their own homes and not in institutions.

“We have moved in New Jersey toward favoring homecare over institutional care,” Christie said at a town hall in Nashua on the evening of the first votes being cast for president in Iowa.

“We’ve done it for two reasons. One, because we think we can do it in a smart affordable way, and two, because we think people with disabilities do better in their own home than they do in an institution,” said Christie. “Our new budget will up the reimbursement cost for that type of care, and increase the spending that we do on it because we need to make it more competitive.”

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Are Iowa Caucuses Accessible for All?

Washington, Feb. 1 – The political world is focused on Iowa today as voters head to the caucuses held around the state this evening. There, Iowans will publicly pledge their support to one of the Democratic or Republican candidates and by the end of the evening, each county will have a winner.

But some people with disabilities may be unable to caucus although they want to. Since the Iowa caucuses are organized by the state’s political parties, they are not run like typical elections. That means many of the rules and procedures in place to ensure access in a traditional election may not apply.

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#PwDsVote Questionnaire Released: Jeb Bush, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders Complete Questionnaires

Washington, Jan. 30 – RespectAbility has released its first #PwDsVote 2016 Campaign Questionnaire for people with disabilities (PwDs).

“Fully one-out-of-five voters have a disability, and 52 percent of likely voters have a loved one with a disability. There are 56 million Americans with disabilities, and we have the ability to determine who wins or loses elections,” RespectAbility President Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi said. “In the early voting states there are 357,730 people with a disability in Iowa, 166,258 PwDs in New Hampshire, 680,038 PwDs in South Carolina and 357,035 PwDs in Nevada. Our community will play a major role in the outcome of this election, and it is vital for us to know where the candidates stand on our issues.”

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Hillary Clinton Completes #PwDsVote 2016 Campaign Questionnaire

Washington, Jan. 30 – RespectAbility, a nonprofit organization working to empower people with disabilities to achieve the American dream, has asked all of the presidential candidates on both sides of the aisle to fill out a questionnaire on disability issues. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has completed the #PwDsVote 2016 Campaign Questionnaire for people with disabilities (PwDs).

We are presenting the campaign’s answers in full below.

QUESTION 1: Do you have a clear and transparent process for making decisions on disability issues? For example, how do you know/learn about disability issues and make decisions on the many policies that impact the one in five of Americans who have a disability? Have you studied the issues? Do you have a disability or a family member with a disability? Have you done meetings with disability leaders or citizens with disabilities? Do you have a disability advisor and/or advisory committee?

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Jeb Bush Completes #PwDsVote 2016 Campaign Questionnaire

NOTE: As Gov. Bush has sought out and learned more about the various issues, he updated his answers. Please see here: Jeb Bush Updates #PwDsVote 2016 Campaign Questionnaire

Washington, Jan. 29 – RespectAbility, a nonprofit organization working to empower people with disabilities to achieve the American dream, has asked all of the presidential candidates on both sides of the aisle to fill out a questionnaire on disability issues. Gov. Jeb Bush has returned a completed #PwDsVote 2016 Campaign Questionnaire for people with disabilities (PwDs).

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Carson Addresses Education & Healthcare in #PwDsVote 2016 Questionnaire

Washington, Jan. 29 – RespectAbility, a nonprofit organization working to empower people with disabilities to achieve the American dream, has asked all of the presidential candidates on both sides of the aisle to fill out a questionnaire on disability issues affecting people with disabilities (PwDs). Dr. Ben Carson’s campaign responded to our request with two links to materials, which address a few questions on the questionnaire.

We are presenting the campaign’s response below:

Q: Many people who are born with disabilities, especially minorities with learning and mental health differences, are not diagnosed and/or their disability issues go unaddressed. This leads to school dropouts and a “school to prison pipeline.” Do you have a plan to enable students with disabilities to get the services they need to succeed in school and life?

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Chris Christie Responds to #PwDsVote 2016 Campaign Questionnaire

Washington, Jan. 29 – RespectAbility, a nonprofit organization working to empower people with disabilities to achieve the American dream, has asked all of the presidential candidates on both sides of the aisle to fill out a questionnaire on disability issues. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is the first Republican to respond. While he did not answer each question on the #PwDsVote 2016 Campaign Questionnaire individually, he did address many, but not all, of the topics posed.

We are presenting his campaign’s response in full below:

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Disability Issues Lack Spotlight But Not Forgotten at CNN Democratic Town Hall

Washington, Jan. 27 – Many minority groups were highlighted at this week’s Democratic Town Hall, with questions ranging from racial inequality to LGBT rights. However, the largest minority group – the 56 million people with disabilities – was not. Even though there were no direct questions, all three candidates brought up issues important to the community.

Secretary Hillary Clinton gave a shout out to Sen. Tom Harkin, who has endorsed Clinton, and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), of which Harkin was a co-author.

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Sanders Campaign First to Fill Out #PwDsVote 2016 Campaign Questionnaire

Washington, Jan. 25 – RespectAbility, a nonprofit organization working to empower people with disabilities to achieve the American dream, has asked all of the presidential candidates on both sides of the aisle to fill out a questionnaire on disability issues. While many campaigns responded positively that they are working on it, the Bernie Sanders campaign is the first to respond with a fully completed #PwDsVote 2016 Campaign Questionnaire for people with disabilities (PwDs).

We are presenting the campaign’s answers in full below.

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Rand Paul on SSDI and Healthcare for People with Disabilities

Des Moines, Iowa, Jan. 24 – Presidential hopeful Rand Paul’s plan for saving Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is to ensure only people who are “truly disabled” receive the benefit.

“If you are truly disabled and you are on some kind of government assistance program, there’s more money for you if we get rid of the people who are truly not disabled on the program,” the senator from Kentucky said in Boone, Iowa, earlier this month. “There are many people who appear to me to not really be disabled who are receiving benefits. And I think they are taking away precious resources from those who are truly disabled.”

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Christie on Drug Addiction, Caucus Accessibility & Autism

Washington, Jan. 23 – In two separate town halls last week, Gov. Chris Christie addressed several issues of importance for the disability community, including drug addiction and incarceration, accessibility at the upcoming caucuses and employment opportunities for people with disabilities, specifically autism.

When Christie was asked about the high amount of incarceration rates in America, he stressed the importance of treating drug addiction as a disease like cancer or diabetes.

“It’s a disease, and we need to give people the tools they need to deal with their disease,” he said at Brick City Grill in Ames, Iowa on Jan. 16. “If you’re a victim of disease, we’re not going to throw you in jail. When we release them from prison, they’ll actually have a chance and the tools necessary to deal with their disease and be a productive member of society again.”

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Clintons Continue Focus On Transitioning People With Disabilities To Work, SSDI Reform

Washington, Jan. 23 – In an appearance for his wife, former President Bill Clinton told the crowd he loves Iowa because people are not afraid to tell him exactly what to do.

Most recently, he recounted a story with an individual who commended him for getting a law changed while president “that said people with disabilities could go to work and still keep their Medicaid coverage.”

Speaking in Marshalltown, Iowa on Jan. 15, Clinton called it a “win-win deal.”

“If you have $100,000 in medical bills to maintain your condition every year, why take a $30,000 job? But if you take the $30,000 job you’ve got something to do, you’re contributing to the economy, you’re paying into Social Security, you’re paying into Medicare.”

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Don’t Forget People with Disabilities When Talking About Unjust Police Killings And Prison Statistics

Washington, Jan. 19 – Racial profiling. Unjust police killings. Black lives matter. All important topics to be discussed during a presidential debate.

Lacking during Sunday night’s NBC Democratic debate – questions about America’s largest minority group – people with disabilities (PwDs).

When moderator Lester Holt asked Secretary Hillary Clinton about racial profiling and unjust police killings, she called for a “clear agenda for retraining police officers.”

“There needs to be a concerted effort to address the systemic racism in our criminal justice system.”

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Focus on Heroin Drug Addiction, Mental Health Treatment at Fourth Democratic Debate

Washington, Jan. 18 – Drug addiction took a spotlight once again at last night’s Democratic presidential debate.

“We have to move away from treating the use of drugs as a crime and instead, move it to where it belongs, as a health issue,” Secretary Hillary Clinton said in response to a question on the deadly heroin epidemic, around the country.

Clinton’s chief rival for the Democratic nomination, Sen. Bernie Sanders, said he agreed with Clinton that drug addiction is a disease.

“What that means is we need a revolution in this country in terms of mental health treatment,” Sanders said, before pivoting to his proposed single-payer healthcare plan. “People should be able to get the treatment that they need when they need it, not two months from now, which is why I believe in universal healthcare with mental health a part of that.”

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Carson: People with Disabilities Attacked Because America has Become Selfish

Forest City, Iowa, Jan. 16 – People with disabilities (PwDs) are twice as likely to be victims of violent crimes as compared to the general population. When asked about how he would deal with this issue, presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson talked about America losing its faith and values and people becoming selfish.

“You see people not caring about the welfare of others, particularly people who might be disabled, and willing to take advantage of them,” Carson replied at Waldorf College in Forest City, Iowa. “We have a problem in this country with our heart. And we’ve become so mean and so self-centered.”

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Trump Says He’s Hired People with Disabilities, Discusses Plan To Stop Drug Addiction

Urbandale, Iowa, Jan. 15 – When a grieving father with a son who died of a heroin overdose asked Donald Trump how he’ll address this epidemic, the presidential hopeful said he’s going to stop the drug traffic from coming in through Mexico.

“We’re going to build a wall,” he said during a town hall at Living History Farms in Urbandale, Iowa. “It’s going to be a real wall, because that stuff is pouring across. And we’re going to have a real wall. And people are going to come in to the country but they are going to come in legally. We’re going to stop that drug traffic.”

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Candidates Focusing on Disability Issues, Key Voting Bloc

Washington, Jan. 14 – Ahead of tonight’s Republican debate, the disability community is finally being heard and paid attention to by the presidential candidates on both sides of the aisle.

In a new ad released today, Republican presidential hopeful Jeb Bush highlights his fight for the rights of people with disabilities. Last week, Secretary Hillary Clinton became the first candidate to announce an Autism plan following a week of talking about related issues including mental health parity and Alzheimer’s research. Three candidates – Clinton, Bernie Sanders and Rick Santorum – have a section on their websites dedicated to disability rights.

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