Washington, D.C., July 30 – “For 29 years, the Americans with Disabilities Act has helped defend the rights of disabled Americans,” Julián Castro tweeted in commemoration of the 29th anniversary of the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) on Friday. “It is integral to building an inclusive, fair, and just nation and as president, I will defend and strengthen it.”
In a series of additional tweets, Castro outlined his People First policies, including “fully funding the Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act,” strengthening housing protections, and fixing the system that leads to disabled people being killed by police.
“There’s so much more that needs to be done to protect the civil rights of people with disabilities, and I am committed to that cause,” he closed.
Castro was one of 12 of the 20 Democratic candidates debating this week to make any mention of the ADA anniversary on Friday. According to the Census Bureau, more than 56 million Americans live with some form of disability. This can include visible conditions such as spinal cord injuries, visual impairments or hearing loss to people living with invisible disabilities such as learning disabilities, mental health or Autism.
Fully three-quarters of likely voters either have a disability themselves or have a family member, or a close friend with disabilities. Therefore, as the 2020 candidates take to the debate stage, it is in the best interest of every presidential candidate and the citizens of this country for candidates to recognize disability issues at this time.
“Candidates for office ignore the disability community at their peril,” said former U.S. Representative and Dallas Mayor Steve Bartlett. Bartlett, who was a primary author of the Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990, is the board chair of RespectAbility. “People with disabilities are politically active swing voters, and candidates should take note of the important issues they care about.”
RespectAbility is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that fights stigmas and advances opportunities so that people with disabilities can fully participate in all aspects of their communities. RespectAbility does not rate or endorse candidates. View more coverage of 2020 presidential candidates.