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Month: October 2016

The Importance of Down Ballot Elections for Disability Rights

Updated Oct. 17 to include additional candidate responses Washington, Oct. 11 – While the presidential election has taken up much of the news cycle, attention also is shifting to who will control the Senate. As such, RespectAbility has reached out to candidates running for Senate as well as Governor in the…

Candidates in Vermont’s Senate and Gubernatorial Races Are Pushing the Advancement of People with Disabilities

Washington, Oct. 11 – In addition to the upcoming presidential election, voters in Vermont also will be voting for candidates running for Senate and Governor. To help Vermonters prepare, Respectability is releasing its Vermont Disability Voter Guide. Democrat candidate Sue Minter and Republican Phil Scott, who are seeking the governorship,…

California Senate Candidates Speak Out Against Discrimination and For Disability Rights

Washington, Oct. 11 – As voters get ready to head to the polls in California, RespectAbility has released its California Disability Voter Guide. Democratic candidates Loretta Sanchez and Kamala Harris are seeking California’s open senate seat, and both of them, as well as presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, have completed the…

Nevada Senate Candidates Emphasize a Commitment to People with Disabilities

Washington, Oct. 11 – Following responses from Democrat Catherine Cortez Masto and Republican Joe Heck, who are both seeking the open Senate seat in Nevada, RespectAbility is releasing its Nevada Disability Voter guide for the upcoming presidential and senate elections. Both Heck and Masto, as well as presidential candidate Hillary…

Maryland Senate Candidates Pledge to Work for People with Disabilities

Rockville, Md., Oct 11 – As voters get ready to head to the polls in Maryland, RespectAbility has released its Maryland Disability Voter Guide for the upcoming senate and presidential races. Both Republican Del. Kathy Szeliga and Democratic Rep. Chris Van Hollen, who are seeking the state’s open U.S. Senate seat,…

New Hampshire Senate Candidates Have History of Working for People with Disabilities

Gubernatorial Candidates Have Yet to Complete #PwDsVote Disability Questionnaire Washington, Oct. 11 – Citizens of New Hampshire will soon be heading out to vote for not only the upcoming presidential election, but also the statewide senate and gubernatorial elections. In turn, RespectAbility is releasing its New Hampshire Disability Voter Guide.…

Disability Issues Missing At Second Presidential Debate

Washington, Oct. 10 – For last night night’s town hall style debate, ABC and CNN welcomed questions submitted via the Open Debate Coalition’s portal. All of the top 30 questions that moderators promised to consider received more than 20,000 votes, and an important disability rights question had nearly 12,000 votes. Yet none…

Trump’s PTSD Statements Further Stigma on Mental Health

Donald Trump wearing a black suit, white shirt and red tie seated while holding a microphone and speaking Washington, Oct. 6 – Earlier this week, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump said that “strong” veterans do not have mental health problems like post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), implying that those who do are “weak” and “can’t handle it.”

“When you talk about the mental health problems, when people come back from war and combat, they see things that maybe a lot of the folks in the room have seen many times over. And you’re strong and you can handle it, but a lot of people can’t handle it,” Trump said to a room full of military veterans during an event in Northern Virginia on Monday morning. “And they see horror stories, they see events that you couldn’t see in a movie — nobody would believe it.”

People with mental health disabilities, especially in the military, often do not seek help because of stigma surrounding mental health issues and the idea that asking for help is seen as being weak. When a major party presidential candidate perpetuates the idea that PTSD is a sign of weakness, that is dangerous for veterans and other people with PTSD who may not disclose their symptoms for fear that they are a sign of weakness.

Act Now to Have Candidates Answer a Disability Rights Question in the Next Debate

Logo with text: Open Debate CoalitionWashington, Oct. 5 – During this presidential campaign, the disability community has seen its issues discussed like never before – in policy proposals, party platforms, conventions and in the media.

But we haven’t yet witnessed presidential candidates answering a debate question about disability rights. People with disabilities – and those who care about them – can make a huge difference in changing that.

The “town hall” debate on Sunday, Oct. 9, will feature questions from the Internet. ABC and CNN moderators agreed to consider the top 30 questions voted up on the Open Debate Coalition site.

This gives us an incredible opportunity to demonstrate the size and strength of our whole community by voting in support of a disability debate question.

The question, “How would you value disability rights in your presidency?” is currently in the top 80 out of almost 10,000 questions that have been submitted!

If you want a question on disability rights to be asked during the next presidential debate, VOTE on this question for Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump to answer. Also, please share it widely with your networks.

Pence Includes People with Disabilities as One of the Most Vulnerable

Republican vice-presidential nominee Gov. Mike Pence speaks during the vice-presidential debate with Democratic vice-presidential nominee Sen. Tim Kaine at Longwood University in Farmville, Va., Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2016. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
Republican VP nominee Gov. Mike Pence

Washington, Oct. 5 – During 2016’s only vice presidential debate, neither Sen. Tim Kaine nor Gov. Mike Pence addressed the rights of people with disabilities – the nation’s largest minority comprising one-in-five Americans.

Republican hopeful Pence was the only candidate to even mention the word, while answering a question about abortion.

“A society can be judged by how it deals with its most vulnerable: the aged, the infirm, the disabled and the unborn,” Pence said. While he did include people with disabilities, many people with disabilities are criticizing him for how he did so.

Oregon’s Mark Callahan Completes #PwDsVote Senate Campaign Questionnaire

Mark Callahan headshot
Mark Callahan

Washington, Oct. 4 – 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. Mark Callahan, a Republican challenging incumbent Sen. Ron Wyden to be the next U.S. Senator representing Oregon, responded to the #PwDsVote Disability Campaign Questionnaire for Senate and Gubernatorial Candidates for people with disabilities.

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

There are 571,982 people with a disability in Oregon, 274,900 of whom are of working age (between the ages of 21 and 64). There are an additional 14,000 people ages 16-20 with disabilities, many of whom are hoping to enter the workforce. Oregon’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.

Oregon currently holds a 36.4 percent labor force participation rate for people with disabilities and ranks 24th out of all fifty states. Other states, such as the Dakotas, have reached rates around fifty percent, showing that improving outcomes for people with disabilities is certainly possible when best practices are implemented. View the rankings of all 50 states and compare.