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Author: Philip Pauli

Bullock Completes Disability Candidate Questionnaire for Montana Senate Race

Key actions and positions posted on the intersection of disability and education, jobs, immigration, climate crisis, criminal justice and more

headshot of steve bullock
Montana Gov. Steve Bullock

Helena, Montana, Sept. 8 – Democratic Senate candidate and current Montana Gov. Steve Bullock 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. 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 Bullock’s responses follows:

1. Learning during the COVID-19 pandemic has led to more issues and concerns for all students and their families, but this is especially true for students with disabilities. Additionally, the gap in graduation and drop-out rates between students with and without disabilities continues to undermine their futures. For example, in the class of 2018, only 66 percent of Black students with disabilities, 71 percent of Hispanic students with disabilities, 77 percent of white students with disabilities, and 79 percent of Asian American students with disabilities completed high school. Furthermore, just seven percent of students born with a disability graduate from college. What is your plan for ensuring that all students with disabilities receive a quality and appropriate education to acquire the critical and marketable skills necessary to compete in a job-driven economy?

Access to a high-quality public education is a right, and is fundamental to ensuring economic mobility. For too long, the federal government has failed to live up to its commitments under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, and our students and schools suffer for it. We must start by fully funding IDEA, and build on that progress by securing significant expansions of programs like TRIO that help students with disabilities enroll in higher education and achieve postsecondary degrees. We must also support transitions from education to workforce by investing vocational rehabilitation services, so that everyone has the resources they need to succeed.

RespectAbility and Inclusive America Urge Candidates to take the #PledgeForDiversity

“Personnel is policy” in a collaborative effort to make government reflect America’s diversity.  

Washington, D.C., August 14 – With 80 days until the November 2020 election, Inclusive America, a non-profit organization dedicated to inclusion in government leadership, is leading a collaborative effort to push our nation’s leaders to reflect the rich diversity of the communities they serve. The national disability inclusion organization RespectAbility is partnering with Inclusive America to urge candidates to take the “Pledge for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.” 

The Pledge is built around four critical goals, including the selection of a national Chief Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Officer, greater transparency on civil servants and political appointees, adoption of new inclusion rules to improve federal hiring practices, as well as enforcing anti-discrimination policies throughout the federal workforce.  

Trump and Biden Campaigns to Speak at Disability Summit

Washington, D.C., July 31 – With 94 days until the Presidential election, surrogates from the Trump and the Biden campaigns will address a nationwide audience of more than 2,000 disability advocates, subject matter experts and community leaders gathered to mark the thirtieth anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act. 

Since Monday, July 27, the national disability nonprofit RespectAbility has hosted a series of virtual #ADA30 events focused on some of the most critical issues impacting people with disabilities in our nation today. 

RespectAbility Releases 2020 Disability Voter Questionnaire for Senate and Governor Races

Washington, D.C., July 24 – RespectAbility, a nonpartisan national nonprofit organization fighting stigmas and advancing opportunities so people with disabilities can fully participate in all aspects of community, is now sending its nonpartisan voter questionnaire to candidates in competitive Senate and Governors races across the country.

The outreach is being done in conjunction with RespectAbility’s online publication, TheRespectAbilityReport.org, an online publication around the intersection of disability and electoral politics. The 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 earlier this year during the Democratic Presidential Primary as well as past work in 2018 and 2016

Trump Campaign Surrogate’s Message: “Uplifting and Celebrating Americans with Disabilities”

Washington, D.C., July 7, 2020 – In a video message played at POWER: the Disability Vote, a national, non-partisan Disability & Election Virtual Summit hosted by the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD), the Trump reelection campaign finally broke its long silence on disability issues. The President’s daughter-in-law and campaign adviser Lara Trump spoke in a direct message with subtitles about creating “real and meaningful change for the disabilities community” and how “every American should have the utmost chance to pursue his or her American dream.”

The video is the first statement of any kind released by the President’s reelection campaign that touches on the issues impacting more than 60 million Americans living with disabilities. That number includes people with visual impairments or hearing loss, people with visible conditions such as spinal cord injuries, and the wide range of non-visible disabilities such as learning disabilities, mental health disabilities, or autism.

Joe Biden’s Message to Voters with Disabilities: “Dignity and Opportunity”

Washington, D.C., June 29 – Former Vice President and Democratic Presidential Nominee Joe Biden had a clear message for the disability community this past week: “Everyone is entitled to a life of dignity and opportunity.” In a video message played at POWER: the Disability Vote, a national, nonpartisan Disability & Election Virtual Summit hosted by the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD), Biden spoke about his legislative record in the Senate and his vision for advancing disability rights if elected President. 

Speaking of his legislative efforts as a Senator from Delaware, Biden talked about working on the passage of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 in his “first year in the Senate.” This law, which specifically prohibited “discrimination on the basis of disability in programs conducted by federal agencies,” created the legal environment that directly lead to the mobilization of the disability rights movement. Biden then talked about the passage of the Fair Housing Amendments Act (FHAA) of 1988. This law explicated added people with disabilities to the categories of people protected from discrimination “in housing sales, rentals or financing.” Lastly, he spoke with great pride about being counted among the cosponsors of the Americans with Disabilities Act in 1990. 

AAPC Webinar: The Swing Voter Bloc You Might Be Overlooking

Date: Monday, June 22, 2020
Time: 1:00 p.m. ET / 12:00 p.m. CT / 11:00 a.m. MT / 10:00 a.m. PT

RSVP: https://register.gotowebinar.com/register/1961165212618960142

Every vote counts and persuading swing voters to support your candidate or cause can be key for successful campaigns. There’s one swing voter bloc that you might be missing though: voters with disabilities. With more than 19 million registered voters, you’ve likely interacted with this community without even realizing it. Join us for this educational seminar to learn more about this voter bloc. Walk away with:

  • A better understanding of what this key segment of the electorate looks like
  • Strategies to reach and communicate effectively with these voters
  • An understanding of how COVID-19 is expected to impact turnout for this voter bloc

Amid the Pandemic, Biden Campaign Unveils Disability Plan “For Full Participation and Equality”

Washington, D.C., May 28 – After months of frustration, anticipation and advocacy by the disability community, presumptive Democratic presidential nominee and former Vice President Joe Biden unveiled his campaign’s disability platform. The plan, intended to positively impact the lives of the one-in-five Americans living with a disability, covers a range of issues as diverse and broad as the wider challenges facing the nation. Critically, the plan commits Biden and his campaign to ensure that “people with disabilities have a voice in their government” and are included throughout the “policy development and implementation” process. 

The plan specifically delineates how a Biden presidency would  “enforce civil rights,” ensure “affordable health care,” expand “competitive, integrated employment,” “strengthen economic security,” improve “educational programs,” and address “affordable housing, transportation, and assistive technologies” needs in the community as well as advancing “global disability rights.” 

COVID-19 Economic Benefits How-To Guide

Washington, D.C., April 17 – As more Americans with and without disabilities are caught up in the economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic, people are wondering where to find answers to life-or-death questions. In this How-To Guide, the RespectAbility team has compiled clear information about several key Economic Benefits to see you through these challenging times.

This guide includes the latest information and online resources about three key topics: accessing your CARES Act payment, accessing food resources and understanding unemployment insurance. 

Leaders Need to Ensure that People with Disabilities Have Access to Online Food and Medicine Delivery

CDC: Approximately 90% of people hospitalized with COVID-19 have underlying conditions, i.e. disabilities “Allowing people with the highest risks for the Coronavirus to use SNAP, WIC and other benefits for online food deliveries will save lives”  Washington, D.C., April 15 – With the nation on lockdown for the duration of the COVID-19…

What Leaders Need to Know To Help People with Disabilities Survive

Washington, D.C., April 9 – As lawmakers continue to work around the clock during this critical time, RespectAbility acknowledges the importance of ensuring people with disabilities are fully included in life-saving efforts.

“The RespectAbility team has been very hard hit,” said the organization’s President Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi. “Our IT consultant died last week, and our immediate past chairman has COVID-19, as do two other members of our extended team. Therefore, these issues are very personal to us and are working hard to get journalists and leaders the facts and sources they need so that policy makers and the public understand both the stakes and solutions to solving this shared crisis.”

Stimulus Package Becomes Law – Here’s What It Means for People with Disabilities

Washington, D.C., March 27 – President Trump signed into law today the $2 trillion-dollar emergency stimulus aimed at propping up the economy during the current crisis. This law is unprecedented in its scope and is meant to help our nation respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. Even now, government agencies are going to work to implement the new law.

Millions of Americans living with disabilities are wondering what this new law means for them and whether they will see any benefit. The short answer is yes, but how far the law will go to help people with disabilities who are uniquely at-risk to the impact of the virus remains an open question.

Elected Officials Need to Hear from Constituents with Disabilities – Here’s How

Washington, D.C., March 27 – In these uncertain times, people with disabilities, their friends and their families are looking to elected officials at every level of government for answers. Often, however, people do not know how to connect to their members of Congress or how to send a message to their governor, state legislators or local officials. 

Thanks to technology, it has never been easier to reach out and make one’s voice heard. Every voice matters and leaders need to know that the disability community is an integral part of their voter base. 

Voter Guide for 373,391 Nevadans with Disabilities

Nevada Ranks 9th in the Country on Jobs for People with Disabilities

Reno, NV, Feb. 19 – In the run up to the 2020 Nevada Democratic caucus, the nonpartisan disability organization RespectAbility has released its Nevada State Voter Guide. 

According to the recently released 2019 Annual Disability Statistics Compendium, the total number of Nevadans with disabilities is 373,391 and they make up 12.5 percent of the total population. Research conducted in the 2018 election shows that 74 percent of likely voters either have a disability themselves or have a family member or a close friend with disabilities. The upcoming elections and their results will have an impact on people with disabilities, so it is important to become familiar with the candidates’ positions on certain issues.

Days Before the Iowa Caucus, Sanders Unveils New “Fighting for Disability Rights Plan”

The Vermont Senator pledges to “incorporate disability issues into every other area of public policy.”  

Washington, D.C., Feb. 1 – With just days to go before the Iowa Caucus, Vermont Senator and presidential candidate Bernie Sanders released his own comprehensive disability policy plan. Much like that of fellow progressive candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Sen. Sanders’ plan covers the broadest possible spectrum of disability issues including “housing, health care, education, transportation, technology and many others.” If elected, Sen. Sanders commits to “incorporate disability issues into every other area of public policy” and “to promote access, autonomy, inclusion and self-determination for all.” 

Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s Plan for People with Disabilities: “Economic Security, Equal Opportunity, and Inclusion”

Massachusetts Senator and presidential candidate completes RespectAbility Candidate Questionnaire

Washington, D.C., Jan. 7 – Posted last week on her website, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s campaign has released a comprehensive statement on disability policy covering critical issues such as employment, health care, education, technology and the social safety net. Subsequently, the campaign completed the 2020 Disability Voter Questionnaire by the disability advocacy group RespectAbility.

Her responses to questionnaire reflect technical expertise drawn directly from diverse leaders in the disability community. 

“People with disabilities are still fighting for economic security, equal opportunity, and inclusion – and they are not fighting alone,” Warren said. “As president, I will work in partnership with the disability community to combat ableism.” 

Further, she aligns her campaign commitments to the “the four goals of the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act): equal opportunity, full participation, independent living, and economic self-sufficiency.” Establishing a new “National Office of Disability Coordination to ensure that federal programs work together to support people with disabilities” is one way she intends to keep her promises if elected. 

“Policy is Personal” Says Senator Elizabeth Warren in New Disability Rights Plan

Washington, D.C., Dec. 2 – Under the banner headline of “Fighting for an Accessible and Inclusive America,” Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren pledges she “will always fight for the full inclusion of people with disabilities.” The presidential candidate’s thorough plan to address disability rights highlights both her record of advocacy in areas such as employment and education while also pledging major actions on health care and inclusion. Her disability rights plan concludes by making it clear that this “policy is personal.” 

1,156 New Jobs for People with Disabilities in Washington State as Gov. Jay Inslee Launches 2020 Campaign

Washington, D.C., April 12th – While nationally 111,804 jobs were gained by people with disabilities, 1,156 went to people with disabilities living in Washington State. The newly published 2018 Annual Disability Statistics Compendium shows there are 480,828 working-age (18-64) people with disabilities living in Washington State. Out of that number, only 194,948 have jobs.…

1,441 Wisconsinites with Disabilities Lose Jobs as Gov. Tony Evers pledged major commitment to student with disabilities

Washington, D.C., April 8 – During the 2019 National Governors’ Association winter meeting, newly elected Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers said that “education is the most important issue in Wisconsin” and pledged a $1.4 billion dollar investment in his state’s schools. Out of that investment, Gov. Evers pledged a “600 million dollar…