Austin, Texas, Nov. 7 – Republican Gov. Greg Abbott has won re-election, defeating Democratic challenger Lupe Valdez for Texas’ governorship.
In the weeks prior to the election, Abbott made new commitments on jobs for people with disabilities in a proclamation sent to RespectAbility in October in honor of Disability Employment Awareness Month. RespectAbility is a nonpartisan, nonprofit national organization working to end stigmas and advance opportunities for people with disabilities.
In the proclamation Abbot, a wheelchair user himself, stated, “The often-used slogan for the Lone Star State’s approach to commerce is that ‘Texas is wide open for business.’ This openness and dedication to inclusivity has been a major part of the foundation for our strong economy. Thus, it is crucial for this diversity to extend beyond our business climate to the hardworking men and women who make up the indomitable Texas workforce.”
This proclamation follows a great year of job growth among people with disabilities living in the Lone Star State. 7,736 people with disabilities entered Texas’ workforce last year. In total, there are more than 1,653,862 working-age people with disabilities living in Texas. That total includes people who are blind or deaf or have other visible conditions such as spinal cord injuries, as well as people with invisible disabilities including learning disabilities, mental health or Autism.
Of that number, 644,181 have jobs. That means the Lone Star State has a 39 percent disability employment rate. According to RespectAbility, a nonpartisan nonprofit organization that works to fight stigmas and advance opportunities for people with disabilities, Texas ranks 22nd compared to the rest of the country.
During his announcement to run for governor back in 2013, Abbott discussed becoming partially paralyzed in an accident when he was 26. He told supporters that he had been through touch challenges in life, but concluded his speech by saying: “Some politicians talk about having a steel spine. I actually have one. I will use my steel spine to fight for Texas values every single day.”