Washington, D.C., August 20 – Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan reached out to the 1-in-5 people who live with a physical, sensory, cognitive, mental health or other disability on the occasion of the 30th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
“I truly believe our state is stronger when all of our citizens are able to contribute to their communities and reap the rewards of those contributions,” Gov. Hogan said at a national #ADA30 summit sponsored by RespectAbility, a nonpartisan nonprofit organization that fights stigmas and advances opportunities for people with disabilities. “Our administration remains committed to doing everything we can to make sure that adults with disabilities can obtain meaningful work, and to ensure that our schools and public places are examples of inclusion in both attitude and action.” More than 10,000 people watched RespectAbility’s online summit.
Each campaign cycle, RespectAbility issues nonpartisan disability voter guides in each of America’s 50 states. This year’s guide will focus on seven core questions that impact the lives and livelihoods of people with disabilities.People with disabilities are America’s largest marginalized population and the only one that, due to an accident, aging or illness, anyone can join at any time. According to the U.S. Census, more than 56 million people – 1 in 5 Americans – had at least one disability prior to COVID-19. This includes people with physical, sensory, learning, cognitive and other barriers to everyday living. The disability community is growing because of this pandemic, both from people who had the coronavirus and with so many people experiencing mental health challenges.
“We are grateful that Gov. Hogan spoke to the disability community on issues that are important to us. This election cycle is more important than ever, and it is vital for people with disabilities to register and vote. It also is critical for voting – whether it is online, by mail or in-person – to be accessible to voters with disabilities,” said Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi, president of RespectAbility.
Voters with disabilities want access in democracy, just like anyone else. At the same time, they have specific issues of interest. Of the 22 million working age (ages 18-64) people with disabilities in our country, fully 70 percent of them were outside of the labor force even before the COVID-19 pandemic. Since the pandemic, more than 20 percent of people with disabilities who had jobs have lost them.
Polling data of the battleground states shows that the disability community is large and electorally contested, but the issues they care about most are not being sufficiently addressed. More than half of the electorate in the battleground (59 percent) self-identifies as having a disability (16 percent), having a family member with a disability (32 percent) or having a close friend with a disability (11 percent).
Full Transcript of Governor Hogan’s Remarks
“I’m Governor Larry Hogan. On July 26, 1990, the Americans with Disabilities Act was signed into law, creating opportunities for more of our citizens to gain equal access to employment, communication, transportation, and other critical services. I truly believe our state is stronger when all of our citizens are able to contribute to their communities and reap the rewards of those contributions. Our administration remains committed to doing everything we can to make sure that adults with disabilities can obtain meaningful work, and to ensure that our schools and public places are examples of inclusion in both attitude and action. Together, we are making incredible strides, but even as we celebrate this important milestone, there is still much work to be done. I look forward to working alongside you to create a more equitable future for all Marylanders. Thank you.”