Richmond, VA, November 3 – Republican newcomer Glenn Youngkin has won a hotly contested race to become Virginia’s next Governor, beating Democratic former governor Terry McAuliffe.
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. Former Governor McAuliffe, in his attempt to return to the governor’s mansion in Richmond, also completed the RespectAbility questionnaire.
According to the 2020 Annual Disability Statistics Compendium, there are over 1 million Virginians living with some form of disability and the disability community makes up 12.1 percent of the Commonwealth’s population. 2019 employment data shows that out of that total population, fully 491,946 are working-age people with disabilities, In the economic expansion prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, 213,043 of those Virginians had a job and the Old Dominion State had a disability employment rate of 43.3 percent.
“Clearly, connecting with voters with disabilities is a winning strategy,” said Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi, president of RespectAbility. “We congratulate Governor-Elect Youngkin 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 Youngkin 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.
As RespectAbility has done for the past several election cycles, the nonpartisan organization is already reaching out to candidates for Governor and the U.S. Senate in 2022, requesting that they complete the 2022 Disability Voter Questionnaire on key topics ranging from employment, education, criminal justice, healthcare and more. Answers to the questionnaire will be turned into nonpartisan voter guides in key battleground states across the country. This questionnaire builds on candidate outreach work done in 2020, 2018 and 2016.
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 2022 candidates.