Denver, Colorado, Nov. 3 – Former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper has won a hotly contested race for the Colorado Senate seat, beating Republican incumbent Sen. Cory Gardner.
Senator-Elect Hickenlooper completed the 2020 Disability Voter Questionnaire for presidential, Senate and gubernatorial candidates put out by the national disability inclusion organization RespectAbility. RespectAbility is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to ending stigmas and advancing opportunities so people with disabilities can fully participate in all aspects of their communities. Sen. Gardner, despite multiple requests, did not respond to the questionnaire.
According to the 2019 Annual Disability Statistics Compendium, the total number of Coloradans with disabilities is 600,664 , making up 10.7 percent of the total state population. 2018 employment data shows that there are 310,982 working-age people with disabilities living in Colorado. In the economic expansion prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, 147,035 of those Coloradans had a job and the Centennial State had a disability employment rate of 47.3 percent.
“Clearly, connecting with voters with disabilities is a winning strategy,” said Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi, president of RespectAbility. “We congratulate Senator-Elect Hickenlooper and look forward to working with him and his team on a wide range of issues so that together we can build an inclusive economy where people with disabilities can have the dignity and income of work, just like anyone else.”
One-in-five Americans have a disability, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. People with disabilities are America’s largest minority group and the only one that, due to an accident or illness, anyone can join at any time. Indeed, America has 61 million people with disabilities. Further, Rutgers University found that there were more than 38 million eligible voters with disabilities in the 2020 election. Polling conducted early in the election season showed that the disability community is a large and electorally contested voting bloc. As such, the victory of candidates such as Senator-Elect Hickenlooper who made a special effort to connect with voters in the disability community proves that the disability community can be a key pool of voters in tight electoral contests.
RespectAbility reached out to candidates for President, Governor and U.S. Senate, requesting they complete the 2020 Disability Voter Questionnaire on key topics ranging from employment, education, criminal justice, healthcare and more. On the presidential level, Democratic nominee and former Vice President Joe Biden filled out the full questionnaire. Despite numerous requests by phone and email, President Donald Trump did not.
RespectAbility is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that fights stigmas and advances opportunities so people with disabilities can fully participate in all aspects of their communities. RespectAbility does not rate or endorse candidates. View more coverage of 2020 candidates.