Washington, D.C., July 30 – Kamala Harris, who held an hour-long call with her supporters in commemoration of the 29th anniversary of the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) on Friday, wrote a blog post “recommitting to build an America that is fully inclusive and accessible for everyone,” noting that there is still a lot of work to do 29 years later.
She called for ensuring all people with disabilities receive the minimum wage or higher; equal access to educational opportunities for children with disabilities; and “access to quality health care and community supports and services.”
“As the former Attorney General of California, I know the impact that strong enforcement of civil rights laws can have on the lives of Americans,” she wrote. “That’s why I will appoint an Attorney General who prioritizes enforcement of the ADA, and all disability civil rights laws, and will double the size of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division to ensure we have the resources to back up that commitment.”
Harris also unveiled her campaign’s Americans with Disabilities Leadership Council, which “will work closely with my team and me throughout this campaign to take on the issues that are most important to Americans with disabilities.”
Harris 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.