Des Moines, Iowa, Jan. 14 – Presidential candidate Jeb Bush is working on a plan to help the 70 percent of people with disabilities who are not employed obtain jobs.
“We are working on a strategy to eliminate the barriers to work,” the former governor of Florida said Tuesday at Brownells firearm manufacturing plant in Grinnell, Iowa. “I truly believe that everybody should have a chance to rise up. A country that works is one where the barriers for everybody is lifted.”
“We will have a policy as it relates to going about doing this,” Bush promised.
As governor, Bush said he traveled throughout the state talking to businesses “about the virtues of people with disabilities, how they add value to the workplace.”
“This is not charity,” he continued. “This is a simple fact that they do add value … for the morale of the workforce and for customers.”
Bush highlighted Publix, a family-owned business, that “made it their priority to hire people with disabilities, and they rise up into management, and the access is the first step. But it goes way beyond that. They believe it’s a key element of their business strategy, and it’s one of the most successful supermarket chains in the United States.”
He also discussed the problematic nature of Social Security Disability Insurance – that there’s no partial disability for those who want to work but still need some assistance.
“We should have a culture of work. Every chance that we have, our society should be encouraging work rather than discouraging it,” he said. “People with disabilities should have the same access to work as well.”
The presidential hopeful also said that fellow contender Donald Trump’s mocking of a reporter with a disability – which Trump denies doing – hurts people with disabilities who face discrimination and stigma.
“No other candidate would say what he did, mocking someone that had a severe physical disability,” Bush said. “He is a jerk if he disparages POWs like John McCain, saying he’s not a hero because he got caught. He is a jerk when he disparages women the way he does. And he is a jerk when he disparages people with disabilities.”
“Why would you disparage people with disabilities and the struggles of families?” Bush continued. “People are drawn toward my cause because I believe the exact opposite. I believe everybody has the right to rise up, that everybody has the ability to make a contribution. … I, for one, will take a stand for the people that are deserving of respect, and I hope you respect that.”
This is not the first time Bush has teared into Trump about this. Bush first called him a “jerk” in December after being asked a similar question by a man with Asperger’s in New Hampshire.
When asked to address the fact that people with disabilities are two to three times more likely to be victims of violence than people without disabilities, Bush, like several other Republicans who answered this question, said it’s in the hands of local law enforcement.
“My first impulse is to suggest that most of the law enforcement issues are really local,” Bush continued. “The federal government ought to focus on federal criminal justice issues and not try to usurp the power of local communities.”
“I’m a little cautious about saying I’ve got a plan to deal with this issue, but clearly when there is a group targeted for race or for disability, that’s a violation of federal law and there should be targeted efforts by the federal law enforcement agencies to deal with it if it’s a systemic challenge. I wasn’t aware of those statistics. Those are deeply troubling to me. There are ways to target this in a way that makes sense rather than to kind of have a blanket approach to dealing with the issue.”
Bush has talked about disability issues often on the campaign trail, talking about Autism in his announcement video and developmental disabilities in an appearance on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. He was the first Republican candidate to include captions on his web-based campaign ads, citing the importance of ensuring that all people are able to access his message.
I do not live with invisible ileslns/disability. I un/exist…I have been dealing with an invisible ileslns/disability since 2002. My masters thesis is about women invisible ileslns/disability and I affectionately refer to it as “the most expensive suicide prevention strategy ever”! My life has been destroyed both by disability and the bludgeoning I have taken from government student loans programs who, despite all the requested medical information, refused to place my loans on interest-free disability status. I am unable to even rent an apartment now without a cosigner, which I do not have. And I cannot afford a lawyer, so I cannot fight them legally either. Two years ago a provincial MP office attempted to help me for a few months, but they were directed by the government to cease assistance to me. I learned also that revenue Canada was also directed by student loans to seize any income tax monies to which I should be entitled. I was supposed to receive over $1500 of medical refund monies from a medical trip to Seattle in 2005, and they stole every penny. I also do not receive my GST. (they seized a bank account and I was forced to close the other because they continued to steal from that one also, despite the measure taken to prevent this).My doctors asked me what exactly the government wanted from me, as we have provided them with all the information possible. At one point we figured it was my blood they wanted, but I was quite anemic and had none! lol I do have some now, so perhaps they still want it? My prescriptions are once again being held hostage by unfair pharmacare as the deductible has been raised to $10,000! So I can’t afford the cost of any prescriptions I need.It has become so embarrassing that I pray for either a windfall lottery win or death I don’t and never did use drugs, i barely drink and i was a very physically active person. i was a cowgirl and a jock. My son is now a young man, and this has devastated him also, because he watches me suffer in so many inhumane and mortifying ways. I waited over 6 years for surgery to save my life, was refused treatment out of province, and my primary health insurance through my employer refused to authorize payment for treatment back in 2005 so I was forced to wait 4 more years in BC for surgery that I finally received a year and a half ago. But the internal damage was so extensive, doctors advised me that I will never fully recover; and in fact, the symptoms have already begun to recur. Because my employer only has to pay the extended health premium, while I remain on long-term disability, there is no incentive for them to sponsor a return-to-work program for me. (They would then be responsible for a portion of my wages). I continue to meet the criteria qualifying me for this program, but I am not an invalid. But this doesn’t seem to make a difference. I am a victim of misfortunate, catch-22 politics. I need to earn my full wages to afford accommodations and living expenses (mostly toilet paper, since that is where most of my days are spent). .I am effectively homeless due to my situation as I have to pay accommodations in the 3 communities (10 hours apart) that I must travel between for my doctor, psychiatrist, and counselor appointments. (I have been unable to find a new doctor in any other community over the past 10 years of dealing with all the medical stuff, which leaves me no other choice). And I must starve myself in order to make these medical trips, which is not so unusual, as eating is a privilege that I am frequently unable to enjoy. All of this contributes to my overwhelming and increasing sadness and escalating depression; all part of my un/existence and the invisibility of my disability.jorge mai kelly