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Presidential Candidates & Advancing Assistive Technology for People with Disabilities

Washington, D.C., Jan 30 – As a nonpartisan national nonprofit organization fighting stigmas and advancing opportunities so people with disabilities can participate fully in all aspects of community, RespectAbility has invited all candidates in the presidential race on both sides of the aisle to submit their answers to a 2020 Disability Voter Candidate Questionnaire. Question 12 in the Questionnaire was: “How would you advance innovations (i.e., assistive technologies, devices) that can help people with disabilities become more successfully employed, productive and independent?

Below, read the answers from the five candidates who responded:

close-up of pete buttigieg's face

Mayor Pete Buttigieg

“Innovative technologies can be a great asset to people with disabilities, but they must be accessible, usable, affordable, and understandable. Inclusive technology can make classrooms and workplaces more accessible while also saving costs for employers. As President, I will affirm America’s leadership in innovation to help people with disabilities become more independent, productive, and successfully employed.”

Read the full response (Question 12)

Sen. Amy Klobuchar

“Senator Klobuchar will work to make sure that people with disabilities can access the technologies they need to fully engage in their communities. She was the lead Democrat on the Steve Gleason Act, which was signed into law in 2018 and permanently fixes the Medicare rule that limited access to speech generating devices for people living with speech and communication disabilities resulting from conditions such as ALS, stroke, cerebral palsy, spinal cord injury, or Rett Syndrome.”

Read the full response (Question 12)

headshot of Amy Klobuchar smiling

close-up of Bernie Sanders smiling while wearing a suit and a tie

Sen. Bernie Sanders

“Bernie understands that we must invest in community living and part of that means investing in research to better allow all members of the disability community to live independently and productively. He will increase funding for the NIH, including the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research. He will invest in technologies to ensure voting is fully accessible.”

Read the full response (Question 12)

Sen. Elizabeth Warren

“My administration will work to bring down the costs of assistive technologies that allow people with disabilities to lead fuller lives. If companies that used government funding to develop their products are unwilling or unable to offer key assistive technologies at reasonable prices, my administration will use its authority under the Bayh-Dole Act to license patented innovations to companies that will ensure that technologies are available to the public on reasonable terms.”

Read the full response (Question 12)

Elizabeth Warren smiling wearing a blue suit

close up of Andrew Yang smiling wearing a white collared shirt and gray suit jacket

Mr. Andrew Yang

“Accessible technology is key to community integration. New technologies can have a major impact on the ability of people with disabilities to find options for more accessible employment, healthcare, and transportation. Andrew’s Medicare for All plan has an emphasis on investment in telehealth, which will provide new incredible accessibility and opportunity for people with disabilities to receive the healthcare they need, when they need it.”

Read the full response (Question 12)

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. The questionnaire is purely for educational purposes as voters go to the polls. RespectAbility has reached out to all of the presidential campaigns and will be posting all responses on The RespectAbility Report. View more coverage of 2020 presidential candidates. 

Published in2020 CampaignAmy KlobucharAndrew YangBernie SandersDemocratsElizabeth WarrenPete Buttigieg

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