Key actions and positions posted on the intersection of disability, education, jobs, immigration, climate, criminal justice and more.
Madison, WI, February 10 – Republican gubernatorial candidate Jonathan Wichmann responded to a detailed candidate questionnaire on disability issues. The questionnaire is from RespectAbility, a nonpartisan nonprofit disability organization that does not endorse candidates. The questionnaire is purely for educational purposes.
One-in-five Americans has a disability, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. People with disabilities are America’s largest minority group. It is also the only one that, due to accident, aging or illness, anyone can join at any time. Indeed, there are over 685,896 people living with some form of disability in Wisconsin and their votes could be crucial in deciding who wins the election in the Badger state.
Wichmann is the first candidate in the upcoming Republican primary to respond to RespectAbility’s candidate questionnaire. The questionnaire is purely for educational purposes. RespectAbility is actively communicating with all candidates in Wisconsin’s upcoming Gubernatorial race.
The full text of RespectAbility’s questions and Jonathan Wichmann’s responses follow:
EDUCATION & SKILLS: What is your plan for ensuring that all students with disabilities, including English Language Learners, receive a quality and appropriate education to acquire critical and marketable skills?
I believe the best way to solve this is to move to a 100% school choice model using vouchers. I believe many students are getting lost through the cracks because our school systems are too large and dysfunctional. I want to bring the power of choice into the hands of parents and students so they can decide which school best fits their needs. This is accomplished by allow the free market to work inside of our education system. I believe under this model students with disabilities will be able to find the right schools that can accommodate their needs.
EMPLOYMENT & ENTREPRENEURSHIP: If elected, what will you do to advance opportunities for people with disabilities who want to work and earn an income, just like anyone else? How will you support employers, large and small, to recruit and hire workers with disabilities? How will you promote evidence-based policies and best practices leading to meaningful careers as well as disability entrepreneurship opportunities?
I believe all citizens should work to produce and contribute to this great country. Just because someone has a disability does not mean the workforce should overlook this person when it comes to job placement. I support policies that provide major tax break incentives for employers willing to recruit, hire, and train workers with disabilities.
ACCESS & INCLUSION: Whether or not you have a formal platform, what specific plans do you have to incorporate the voices of people with disabilities into your decision-making processes, if elected? What steps, if any, have you taken to make your campaign accessible for people with disabilities and to ensure that our voices are heard?
I have had many conversations with residents of Wisconsin who have disabilities. I have listened to their needs and understand their desires. At our campaign locations we make sure they are held at event spaces that are accessible for people with disabilities. All of our video material online have closed captions as well.
FIGHTING STIGMAS: If elected, what will be your plan to fight stigmas, highlight the disability community, and promote higher expectations for success?
I will work to promote success stories of companies within Wisconsin who hire citizens with disabilities and how it has been a win-win. My aim is to empower everyone I come into contact with. I believe my own story as a governor candidate with Muscular Tourette’s will inspire many people that anything is possible if you are willing to work hard.
OTHER KEY ISSUES: What additional policies and priorities, other than those already discussed above, do you plan to focus on to improve the lives of people with disabilities? If you have yet to develop them, what is your plan to learn about disability issues?
I would like more information on these topics so I can better formulate a good plan that works for everyone.
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.
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