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RespectAbility Unveils #PwDsVote Disability Questionnaire for Senate and Gubernatorial Candidates

Questions Focus on Issues Relating to Employment and Stigma

Image of two people voting - one blind and one in a wheelchair
America has 56 million people with disabilities, comprising the largest minority group in America, and the only one that, due to an accident or illness, anyone can join at any time.

Washington, Aug. 7 – Last winter, RespectAbility sent the #PwDsVote Presidential Campaign Questionnaire to all of the presidential candidates. Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton responded in full. While several Republican primary candidates did, Republican nominee Donald Trump’s campaign has yet to return any answers to the questionnaire.

Now RespectAbility has adapted the questionnaire for down-ballot races, focusing on open and competitive senate and gubernatorial races. This gives the disability community an opportunity to make a difference by contacting these candidates and urging them to complete the questionnaire. RespectAbility has provided the candidates’ email addresses and Twitter handles for people to do so. They are below.

The deadline to be entered into the voter guide is Monday, August 29. As answers are returned, they will be posted here on The RespectAbility Report. See the questions at the bottom of the post.

Members of the disability community can engage candidates to include disability issues in their speeches and platforms by emailing or tweeting candidates to ask them to respond to the #PwDsVote Disability Campaign Questionnaire for Senate and Gubernatorial Candidates! Here are some Tweet examples:

  • @ Please fill out @Respect_Ability’s #PwDsVote disability questionnaire: We’re 20% of country!
  • @ Don’t ignore 1-in-5 Americans! Fill out @Respect_Ability’s #PwDsVote disability questionnaire:

Open and Competitive Governor Races
(Candidates as of August 7, 2016 – will be updated throughout season)

State Candidate Name Email Address Twitter Handle
Delaware – R Colin Bonini @colinbonini
Delaware – D John Carney @john_carney
Delaware – R Lacey Lafferty @laceylefferty
Missouri – R Eric Greitens @EricGreitens
Missouri – D Chris Koster @Koster4Missouri
New Hampshire – D Mark Connolly @MarkConnollyNH
New Hampshire – D Derek Dextraze @derekdeztraze
New Hampshire – R Frank Edelblut @EdelblutForGov
New Hampshire – R Jeanie Forrester @JeanieForrester
New Hampshire – R Ted Gatsas @gatas4governor
New Hampshire – R Jon Lavoie
New Hampshire – D Steve Marchand @marchandsteve
New Hampshire – R Chris Sununu @ChrisSununu
New Hampshire – D Colin Van Ostern @ColinVanOstern
North Carolina – D Roy Cooper @roycoopernc
North Carolina – R Pat McCrory @PatMcCroryNC
North Dakota – R Doug Burgum @DougForDakota
North Dakota – D Marvin Nelson @nelsonfornd
Vermont – D Cris Ericson
Vermont – D Matt Dunne @mattdunnevt
Vermont – D Peter Galbraith @GalbraithforVT
Vermont – R Bruce Lisman @CruceLisman
Vermont – D Sue Minter @SueMinterVT
Vermont – R Phil Scott @philscott4vt
West Virginia – R Bill Cole @BillColeWV
West Virginia – D Jim Justice @justiceforwv

Open and Competitive Senate Races
(Candidates as of August 7, 2016 – will be updated throughout season)

State Candidate Name Email Address Twitter Handle
California – D Kamala Harris @KamalaHarris
California – D Loretta Sanchez @Loretta2016
Colorado – D Michael Bennet @BennetForCO
Colorado – R Darryl Glenn @darrylglenn2016
Florida – R Carlos Beruff @carlosberuff
Florida – D Roque De La Fuente @voterocky2016
Florida – D Alan Grayson @alangrayson
Florida – R Ilya Katz @katz4uscongress
Florida – D Pam Keith @pamkeith2016
Florida – R Howard Knepper
Florida – D Patrick Murphy @PatrickMurphyFL
Florida – R Ernie Rivera @ernierivera2016
Florida – R Marco Rubio @marcorubio
Florida – R Dwight Young @dy4senate2016
Illinois – D Tammy Duckworth @tammyforIL
Illinois – R Mark Kirk @markkirk
Indiana – D Evan Bayh @EvanBayh
Indiana – R Todd Young @ToddYoungIN
Louisiana – R Charles Boustany @cboustanyjr
Louisiana – D Foster Campbell @campbell_foster
Louisiana – R Joseph Cao
Louisiana – D Caroline Fayard @FayardforSenate
Louisiana – R John Fleming @FlemingforLA
Louisiana – R John Kennedy @JohnKennedyLA
Louisiana – R Rob Maness @RobManess
Louisiana – R Abhay Patel @patelforLA
Louisiana – D Josh Pellerin @JoshPellerINSen
Maryland – R Kathy Szeliga @KathyforMD
Maryland – D Chris Van Hollen @VanHollenForMD
Nevada – R Joe Heck @heck4nevada
Nevada – D Catherine Masto @catherinefornv
New Hampshire – R Kelly Ayotte @KellyAyotte
New Hampshire – D Maggie Hassan @Maggie_Hassan
North Carolina – R Richard Burr @burrforsenate
North Carolina – D Deborah Ross @deborahrossnc
Ohio – R Rob Portman @robportman
Ohio – D Ted Strickland @Ted_Strickland
Pennsylvania – D Katie McGinty @KatieMcGintyPA
Pennsylvania – R Pat Toomey @PatToomey
Wisconsin – D Russ Feingold @russfeingold
Wisconsin – R Ron Johnson @ronjohnsonwi

These are the questions RespectAbility submitted to the campaigns. They also provided each candidate with a 10-page resource guide to help with answering these questions. View it here:

Please first start by answering YES or NO regarding if you have a plan/answer on this issue or not. Then include specific details of your plan up to 250 words for each answer. In addition, if you have more to say on an issue, please link back to the appropriate place on your website for people to learn more.

  1. Do you have designated advisors and clear processes for making decisions on disability issues? If yes, please describe.
  2. Is your campaign accessible and inclusive to people with disabilities? If yes, please describe.
  3. Do you have a proven record on improving or a plan to improve the lives of people with disabilities? If yes, please describe.
  4. Do you have a plan/commitment to reduce the stigmas about people with disabilities that are barriers to employment, independence and equality? If yes, please describe.
  5. 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? If yes, please describe.
  6. 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? If yes, please describe.
  7. Do you have a plan to reform the benefits system (Medicaid, Medicaid buy-in) to enable people with disabilities to work to the best of their capacities without losing supports they need to work? If yes, please describe.
  8. Do you have a plan to ensure people with disabilities are eligible for affordable health insurance regardless of pre-existing conditions? If yes, please describe.
  9. 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? If yes, please describe.
  10. Do you have a plan to ensure that individuals with disabilities receive services that would prevent them from being swept up into the criminal justice system, divert individuals with disabilities who are arrested to treatment options in lieu of jail where appropriate, receive needed accommodations in the criminal justice process and while incarcerated, and offer appropriate re-entry support to help individuals with disabilities leaving jails and prisons re-integrate into their communities and secure jobs? If yes, please describe.
  11. 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? If yes, please describe.
  12. Both children and adults with disabilities are more likely to be victims of rape or sexual assault. Do you have a plan to address this issue? If yes, please describe.
  13. Do you have a plan for veterans with disabilities facing barriers transitioning from active duty to civilian employment? If yes, please describe.
  14. 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? If yes, please describe.
  15. Do you have a plan to address the lack of accessible transportation options that is a barrier to work for people with disabilities? If yes, please describe.
  16. Do you have a plan to advance innovations (i.e., assistive technologies, devices) that can help people with disabilities become more successfully employed, productive and independent? If yes, please describe.
  17. (SENATORS ONLY) 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? If yes, please describe.
Published in2016 Candidate QuestionnaireCongressGovernorsHow-To


  1. I notice that Georgia actually has a race for the US Senate. Indeed, it appears it could be competitive. It pits Democrat Jim Barksdale against two-term Republican incumbent Johnny Isakson and libertarian Alan Buckley.

    Given the size of the state of Georgia and its traditional leadership position in the context of the “south” … I’m a bit surprised your data has this gap.

    • Lauren Appelbaum Lauren Appelbaum

      Thank you for your comment. Georgia was not part of our first round but we have included this election in our second round. We are posting responses from the first round this week and expect to post responses from the second round in two weeks.

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