Carson City, NV, September 8 – Incumbent Nevada Democratic Senator Catherine Cortez Masto has 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 more than 422,943 people living with some form of disability in Nevada and their votes could be crucial in deciding who will represent them in the United States Senate.
Senator Cortez Masto is the first candidate in the upcoming Nevada Senate race to respond to RespectAbility’s candidate questionnaire. The questionnaire is purely for educational purposes. RespectAbility has reached out to key Senate and gubernatorial campaigns on both sides of the aisle and will be posting all responses on The RespectAbility Report.
The full text of RespectAbility’s questions and Cortez Masto’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?
Every year, I have supported funding for the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and believe that the government should uphold its commitment to full funding, which is why I cosponsored the IDEA Full Funding Act. I have also strongly supported Title III English Language (EL) Instruction funds and have introduced bipartisan legislation to expand the pipeline of teachers who are trained in EL teaching.
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 have fought for critical investments to grow our economy and create good-paying jobs for Nevadans throughout my time in the Senate and to secure vital relief for our most vulnerable families during the pandemic. I introduced the 21st Century Entrepreneurship Act to direct the SBA to develop a curriculum with the Service Corps of Retired Executives to provide education and assist underrepresented students – including children with disabilities – vital skills in entrepreneurship. I also cosponsored the Work Opportunity Tax Credit & Jobs Act to make permanent this vital credit to businesses who hire and retain individuals who face significant barriers to employment, including people with disabilities. Finally, I support equal pay for equal work, and that includes those with disabilities. Workers in this community deserve to be fairly compensated for their work the same as everyone else and I support phasing out the subminimum wage for workers with disabilities. I will continue these efforts to train, employ, and fairly compensate our workers with disabilities, especially continuing to focus on our communities with the greatest need and most impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
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?
In the Senate, I have made sure to establish inclusive office policies that give the disability community a seat at the table. This is especially crucial during the legislative process, which is why I work to incorporate diverse stakeholders’ views — including Nevadans with disabilities –while drafting and reviewing proposals.
FIGHTING STIGMAS: If elected, what will be your plan to fight stigmas, highlight the disability community, and promote higher expectations for success?
The disabled community has had to battle against unique challenges and adverse living accommodations for centuries and their resiliency deserves targeted assistance in order to achieve equity in the lived experiences of disabled individuals. For this reason, I have and will continue to support efforts to empower and protect all individuals with disabilities, from children and students to seniors. I have made it a priority to back legislation such as the Disability Integration Act, a bipartisan bill that would prohibit government entities and insurance providers from denying accessible, local and community-based services to individuals with disabilities that require long-term care or assistance.
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?
Our children and grandchildren cannot afford for us to wait any longer to address the climate crisis. It’s here, and if we want them to enjoy the beauty of Red Rock Canyon and Lake Tahoe, and have access to clean drinking water and air, then we have to act now. I will continue to work to strengthen our state’s clean energy economy to create new jobs and help us combat climate change.
Women’s reproductive rights are under attack like never before. Extremist politicians are closer than ever to overturning Roe v. Wade, and I refuse to sit back while they attempt to turn back the clock on our rights. I promise I will always fight for access to safe and legal abortion.
In the Senate, I have focused on lowering health care costs so that quality care is more accessible for Nevada families. I will continue to push to lower prescription drug costs by holding big pharmaceutical companies accountable for skyrocketing prices. I have pushed legislation to allow Medicare to negotiate drug prices and to cap the cost of lifesaving insulin so that every Nevadan can get the medicine they need at an affordable price.
RespectAbility is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that fights stigmas and advances opportunities so people with disabilities can fully participate in all aspects of community. View more coverage of 2022 candidates.