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Category: 2020 Campaign

Tillis Completes Disability Candidate Questionnaire for North Carolina Senate Race

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

headshot Thom Tillis
North Carolina Incumbent Republican Sen. Thom Tillis

Raleigh, NC, Sept. 16 – Incumbent Republican Senator Thom Tillis 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 Tillis’ 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?

The COVID-19 pandemic has placed strain and major disruptions on our children, parents, teachers, and communities in North Carolina. That is why one of my highest priorities during this pandemic has been to secure emergency relief funds for our schools and students. I worked to secure $13.2 billion in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act for K-12 schools and students and an additional $3 billion in flexible emergency block grants designed to enable state governments to decide how best to meet the needs of their students and school districts. These funds are already being used in North Carolina to support the academic needs of at-risk students and students with disabilities through additional in-school support, after-school programming, tutoring, and hiring more teachers and teacher assistants to serve our special needs student population. 

I believe that the opportunity to work and pursue self-sufficiency plays a critical role in giving students with disabilities the critical skills needed to compete in a job-driven economy. We must work to ensure that students, including those with disabilities, have the skills and tools needed to find high-skill, high-wage, and in-demand jobs, which is why I was a strong supporter of the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act. I am working in coordination with our school districts, the Department of Public Instruction, and the State Board of Education as they work to get students back to receiving stable and reliable education during this unprecedented time and I will continue to advocate for the needs of our students during this pandemic.  

14 Candidates for Governor and Senate Complete Disability Questionnaire

Washington, D.C., Sept. 14 – With 50 days left until Election Day and with many voters deciding to vote early, candidates across the political spectrum are reaching out to a previously ignored block of voters: people with disabilities.

Polling conducted earlier this year showed that more than half of the electorate in the battleground (59 percent) self-identifies as having a disability (16 percent), having a family member with a disability (32 percent) or having a close friend with a disability (11 percent).

According to Rutgers University, 14.3 million citizens with disabilities voted in 2018. Those voters will be crucial as both Democrats and Republicans vie for votes this year. In response to this opportunity, campaigns and candidates across the country are going on the record about their policies and plans to help Americans with disabilities. Those plans are being documented online by RespectAbility, a national nonprofit organization fighting stigmas and advancing opportunities so people with disabilities can fully participate in all aspects of community.

RespectAbility is a non-partisan group and have been thorough in reaching out to Democratic and Republican candidates equally. The team at RespectAbility is still actively soliciting responses to their questionnaire from campaigns that have not yet done so.

RespectAbility has been actively engaging with campaigns to both educate them about disability issues and to get campaigns to complete RespectAbility’s 2020 Disability Voter Questionnaire.  You can find full, detailed converge online at https://therespectabilityreport.org.

Holcomb Responds to Disability Candidate Questionnaire for Indiana Governor Race

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

headshot Eric Holcomb
Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb

Indianapolis, IN, Sept. 11– In response to RespectAbility’s 2020 Disability Voter Questionnaire for Senate and Governor Races, Indiana’s Republican Governor Eric Holcomb and Lieutenant Governor Suzanne Crouch have responded with the following letter detailing some of their past efforts to support Hoosiers with disabilities and their shared vision for the future of Indiana. The full text of their letter follows:


Supporting Hoosiers with disabilities is an issue that Governor Holcomb and Lt. Governor Crouch are passionate about. Lt. Governor Crouch has been a champion of Hoosiers with disabilities throughout her entire career in public service and her passion for this issue continues to have a tremendous impact on the approximately 100,000 Hoosiers with intellectual or developmental disabilities.

The very first bill governor Holcomb signed into law was one that provided more transportation options for students with disabilities. He also signed landmark legislation that supports the independence of Hoosiers with disabilities and created the taskforce for assessment of services and support for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Lt. Governor Crouch chaired this taskforce.

Myers Completes Disability Candidate Questionnaire for Indiana Governor Race

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

headshot Woody Meyers
Indiana Democratic gubernatorial candidate Dr. Woody Meyers

Indianapolis, IN, Sept. 11 – Democratic gubernatorial candidate Dr. Woody Myers 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 Dr. Myers’ responses follow:


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?

All students in Indiana deserve a high quality education that prepares them for success post-graduation, especially students with disabilities. The COVID-19 pandemic exposed the inequities in our public school system due to 16 years of Republican-led efforts to privatize public schools. To better prepare students with disabilities for the workplace, we need to increase school funding to provide the resources for additional support staff in the classroom for individualized attention, make sure our schools are a welcoming environment where students with disabilities are integrated into mainstream classes, and specific job training where appropriate. We can do more to close the achievement gaps for marginalized students, including our students with disabilities, by investing in the resources and personnel needed to ensure success.

Cooper Completes Disability Candidate Questionnaire for North Carolina Governor Race

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

headshot Roy Cooper
North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper

Raleigh, N.C., Sept. 11 – Incumbent Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper 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 Gov. Cooper’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?

As we begin an unprecedented school year, we need to make sure we are supporting our students with unique learning needs. That’s why I directed $95.6 million in new funding to help support K-12 and postsecondary students most impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic who can benefit from support.

My office has made major strides in the Leandro case, which addresses the disproportionate funding and underfunding of our schools. The state in that case has agreed to lift the cap on funding for students with disabilities and increase funding by more than $460 million over the next eight years, and we will work to get that done. As a downpayment on those investments, I included $6.2 million in state funding and $17 million in federal funding to provide more supports to students with disabilities.

Greenfield Completes Disability Candidate Questionnaire for Iowa Senate Race

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

headshot Theresa Greenfield
Iowa Democratic Senate candidate Theresa Greenfield

Des Moines, IA, Sept. 11 – Democratic Senate candidate Theresa Greenfield 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 Greenfield’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?

As the mother of a son with a disability, this is personal to me. I support fully funding the federal share of the Individuals with Disabilities Education ACT (IDEA). The federal share of IDEA funding is now less than 14 percent, far short of the 40 percent Congress promised to provide. This is especially important because the failure to fund IDEA fully has shifted costs to the states, forcing them to choose between raising taxes and cutting critical services. Congress should also lift the budget caps and increase funding for Title I programs for the students most in need, Title II funding for teacher development, IDEA funding for students with disabilities, and community schools.

Salango Completes Disability Candidate Questionnaire for West Virginia Governor Race

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

headshot Ben Salango
Kanawha County, WV commissioner Ben Salango

Charlestown, WV Sept. 11 – Democratic Governor candidate and current Kanawha County commissioner Ben Salango 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 Salango’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?

As Governor, I would spend every penny of the $1.25 billion in federal relief West Virginia received. There is a whole pot of money sitting there unused that could be directed to preparing our schools for virtual learning by ensuring access to the internet and safer in-person learning by stockpiling PPE and sanitation. We need to make sure our next generation of students is prepared for the workforce, regardless of their abilities or risk of COVID-19 complications.

Unlike the current Governor, I would develop a plan with legislators, county commissioners, mayors, educators, and parents to use relief funds wisely and keep the promise of a quality education for all.

Walsh Completes Disability Candidate Questionnaire for New Mexico Senate Race

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

headshot Bob Walsh
New Mexico Libertarian candidate for the Senate Bob Walsh

Santa Fe, NM, Sept. 10 – Libertarian Senate candidate Bob Walsh 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 Walsh’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?

The Constitution did not give Congress authority over education. The New Mexico Constitution requires free public schools sufficient for the education of all the children. A recent judgment enjoined the State to ensure that New Mexico schools have sufficient resources. The judgment includes resources necessary to give children with a disability the opportunity to obtain a uniform and sufficient education, an education that prepares them for college and career. Congressional action would be both unconstitutional and unnecessary.

Davis Completes Disability Questionnaire for North Carolina’s 11th Congressional District Race

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

headshot Moe Davis
North Carolina Democratic congressional candidate Moe Davis

Raleigh, NC, Sept. 10 – Democratic congressional candidate, retired U.S. Air Force colonel, attorney, and educator Moe Davis 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 Davis’ 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 AsianAmerican 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?

Public education is the cornerstone of our Democracy. I support the goals of the U.S. Dept of Education, including the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services, Office for Civil Rights, Office of Elementary and Secondary Education, and Office of Postsecondary Education. These important offices have all played critical roles in ensuring access, equity, and opportunity to students with disabilities. They need to be fully funded with adjustments for inflation. I will work to include funding for specific technologies necessary to support students with disabilities and will listen to advocates who work tirelessly on their behalf. IDEA and ESSA are essential and should never be considered for cuts. All students should be strongly encouraged to take the same general tests with necessary accommodations, with only students with the most significant disabilities taking alternate tests based on alternate assessments. All students with disabilities should get an opportunity to graduate with a regular diploma. 

Cooney Completes Disability Candidate Questionnaire for Montana Governor Race

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

headshot Mike Cooney
Montana Lt. Governor Mike Cooney

Helena, MT, Sept. 10 –  Lieutenant Governor of Montana and current Democratic candidate for Governor Mike Cooney 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 Cooney’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?

Education is a great equalizer in a 21st century economy, and making education more accessible to everyone is a cornerstone of my platform. As governor, I will fight to supply students and schools with the tools they need to support remote learning, technology upgrades, and related expenses amidst the unprecedented toll the COVID-19 pandemic has caused Montana’s education system. I will also permanently provide inflationary increases in Special Education funding to ensure Montana kids with disabilities have equal access to a free quality public education.

Daines 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 Steve Daines
Montana Sen. Steve Daines

Helena, MT. Sept. 10 – Incumbent Republican Senator Steve Daines 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 Sen. Daines’ responses follow:


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?

We need to ensure that all Americans with disabilities have access to the education opportunities that best fit their needs.That’s why I have always supported school choice – we need to be empowering parents and students to find what best fits them. As a father of four children, I understand that what one kid needs isn’t the same as what the other may need – that’s why as families, we must have the tools to ensure each one of our children has the education opportunities that’s the best option for them. I was proud to support IDEA funding, which provides critical education resources for those with disabilities and I’ll continue working to ensure those with disabilities have the resources they need to get the education they deserve and compete in today’s economy.

Biden Completes Disability Candidate Questionnaire

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

Joe Biden
Former Vice President and Democratic Presidential candidate Joe Biden

Washington, D.C. Sept. 9 – Former Vice President and Democratic Presidential candidate Joe Biden 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. The answers to the questionnaire will be turned into nonpartisan voter guides in 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. The full text of RespectAbility’s questions and Biden’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?

I will start by fully funding and enforcing IDEA and tripling Title I funding to increase resources available to educators to meet the needs of students with disabilities. I will support efforts to recruit and retain special education teachers, including diverse special education teachers, and provide professional development opportunities to all teachers and paraprofessionals who work with students with disabilities. Our Administration will promote universal design in teaching practices and classroom features, such as instructional techniques, classroom materials and resources, classroom seating, testing, and note-taking. To address the disparity in school discipline, including suspension, expulsion and segregation, I will fully implement the special education significant disproportionality regulation that the Obama-Biden Administration put in place and support the passage of the Keeping All Students Safe Act, which will end the use of seclusion and prevent and decrease the use of physical restraints in schools.

I will ensure that school districts are meeting their obligations under IDEA to provide transition services to all students with disabilities by the time they turn 16, and encourage them to start even earlier—at age 14 so they can graduate ready for continuing education or employment. I will direct the Department of Education to provide additional guidance to states and school districts on ensuring that all pathways to college and the workforce, such as advanced coursework, dual enrollment opportunities, and high-quality career and technical education, are accessible to all students with disabilities.

I will increase funding for programs such as the Model Comprehensive Transition and Postsecondary Program for Students with Intellectual Disabilities Coordinating Center and the Transition and Postsecondary Programs for Students with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (TPSIDs), which provide funding to community colleges and 4-year colleges and universities to create inclusive postsecondary programs for young people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. I will direct the Department of Education to provide guidance to all postsecondary programs to accept the accommodations students with disabilities have used in pre K-12 settings for postsecondary settings.

Carney Completes Disability Candidate Questionnaire for Delaware Governor Race

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

headshot John Carney
Delaware Governor John Carney

Wilmington, DE, Sept. 9 – Incumbent Democratic Governor John Carney 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 Carney’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?

I believe education is the most difficult issue we have faced throughout this crisis. Because despite COVID-19, all Delaware children deserve access to a high-quality education. We have focused on helping school leaders navigate the difficult challenges of returning to school safely during a pandemic. Our top priority is the safety of all of Delaware students, educators and staff. The bottom line is: we cannot get students and educators back in school if we can’t do so safely. We have assigned public health liaisons to Delaware schools and provided comprehensive, data-driven guidance to school leaders. We will continue to support students, educators, and school leaders to make sure we get this right, and to make sure all students have the resources they need to succeed.

Hickenlooper Completes Disability Candidate Questionnaire for Colorado Senate Race

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

Denver, CO, Sept. 9 – Democratic Senate candidate and former Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper 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 Hickenlooper’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 AsianAmerican 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?

Hickenlooper will work to close the achievement gap supporting the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), expanding literacy opportunities, promoting STEM learning, funding Head Start and full-day kindergarten, and so much more. As senator, Hickenlooper will work to ensure every student can benefit from the foundation for future success that education provides.

Cunningham Completes Disability Candidate Questionnaire for North Carolina Senate Race

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

headshot Cal Cunningham
North Carolina Democratic Senate candidate Cal Cunningham

Raleigh, NC, Sept. 9 – Democratic Senate candidate Cal Cunningham 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 Governor 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 Cunningham’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?

The quality of our children’s education shouldn’t depend on where they grow up, their race, their wealth, or a disability, and I believe that public education—and the investments we make in our children through schools—should be an engine of opportunity for all North Carolinians. We must invest in opportunity through our schools by fully funding Title I and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, to provide schools the resources they need to succeed. I also support investment in specialized instructional support personnel, including counselors, psychologists, and other professionals, who address children’s unique academic and developmental needs and help ensure every child can thrive in school. 

Zuckerman Completes Disability Candidate Questionnaire for Vermont Gubernatorial Race

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

headshot David Zuckerman
Vermont Lt. Gov. David Zuckerman

Montpiler, VT, Sept. 8 – David Zuckerman, Democratic Lieutenant Governor and candidate for Governor this fall, 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 Zuckerman’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?

Education is a fundamental keystone to economic opportunity for all Vermonters. Schools are the heart of our communities. To give our children their best futures, we must focus on education from pre-k through higher education. We need educational opportunities for all Vermonters seeking more education, including trade schools, internships, and mentoring, that meet them where they are and help them realize their full potential as members of our communities.

The coronavirus pandemic has exposed many of the underlying inadequacies in our education system that many of us have known about, many have experienced, and so many Vermonters, stakeholders and organizations have tried to rectify for years. 

We must also meet students where they are and adjust our system to meet our current reality. We must expand broadband to ensure that the students who can and will be studying from home can do so. We must also support our teachers, support staff and schools as they provide education for students who are not able to study and learn from home.

We must expand our understanding of societal issues that inhibit learning and overextend teachers. By closely connecting the Department of Health and the Agency of Human Services with the Agency of Education and working with frontline state, local and designated agency employees, we can find ways to save money by reducing redundancy, provide a stronger continuum of care and improve outcomes for some of our most vulnerable Vermonters.

Collins Completes Disability Candidate Questionnaire for Maine Senate Race

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

headshot Susan Collins
Maine Sen. Susan Collins

Portland, ME, Sept. 8 – In response to RespectAbility’s 2020 Disability Voter Questionnaire for Senate and Governor Races, Maine’s Republican Senator and embattled incumbent Susan Collins has responded with the following letter detailing some of her major legislative accomplishments, her past efforts to support Mainers with disabilities and her vision for the future of this country. 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.


While Sen. Collins did not answer each question directly, the full text of her letter follows:

Dear Mr. Kahn-Pauli,

Thank you for reaching out to inquire about RespectAbility’s policy priorities. I believe that actions speak louder than words, which is why it is my policy to allow organizations to grade me on my voting record, rather than on answers to questionnaires.

I welcome the opportunity to share my record in support of full community engagement for the one out of five Americans living with disabilities. This minority is the largest in the nation, and unique in that it is the only type that any individual can join at any point in their lives. As Senator and as Chairman of the Senate Aging Committee, I have long advocated for policies to promote equal opportunities and inclusive services for people with disabilities from childhood to senior years. We have made strides to improve education, employment, healthcare, and housing for people with disabilities. Now, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has exacerbated disparities, we must further advance public policies to promote inclusion for those living with disabilities, and I’m committed to achieving this goal.

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.

Dramatic Change in Disability Visibility in Politics as Disability on Display at the DNC

Washington, D.C., August 23 – The 2020 Democratic National Convention took place over the course of this week, and several speakers with disabilities were featured over the first-of-its-kind virtual event. By doing so, the event helped to normalize disability, showing individuals with a variety of disabilities speaking about topics from gun violence to healthcare – issues of importance to all people in America. This is a massive change in politics as people with disabilities are starting to be seen and heard. 

Indeed, after the 2012 DNC and RNC political conventions, The New York Times created a tool where people could put in a word to see how many times that word appeared from the convention stages during these major events. People with disabilities had been missing from both the stage and the conversation as the tool showed that the word was not even mentioned once per 25,000 words from the Republican convention and was mentioned .03 times per 25,000 times at the 2012 Democratic convention. 

The 2020 DNC convention, in contrast, featured both conversations about disability as well as speakers with disabilities. 

Biden Campaign Surrogate Reaches Out to People with Disabilities

Washington, D.C., August 21 – On behalf of the Biden Campaign, former Olympic figure skater and Special Olympics Board Member Michelle Kwan reached out to the 1-in-5 people who live with a physical, sensory, cognitive, mental health or other disability on the occasion of the 30th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

“It is more important than ever that we fulfill the promise of the ADA and build a more equal and inclusive society,” Kwan said at a national #ADA30 summit sponsored by RespectAbility, a nonpartisan nonprofit organization that fights stigmas and advances opportunities for people with disabilities. “That’s why [Biden] has introduced a plan for the Full Participation and Equality for People with Disabilities.” More than 10,000 people watched RespectAbility’s online summit.