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Category: 2020 Campaign

Kamala Harris Pledges to be President for All People – People with Disabilities, Too

Washington, D.C., April 18 – The first woman and first African American to be California’s Attorney General, Sen. Kamala Harris was the first woman of color to enter the 2020 presidential race. If she were to win the presidential election, she would be the first woman president and the first woman of color to sit in the Oval Office.

It is no coincidence that she announced her candidacy on MLK day, as her campaign, much like her career, is focused on civil rights. Her campaign tagline is “of the people, by the people, for all people.” She prides herself in protecting the most vulnerable Americans, as explained in her Senate biography. People with disabilities are, arguably, the most vulnerable members of society. So, naturally, her career and presidential campaign should reflect a continued fight for disability rights. But she still has much room for improvement on disability issues.

Presidential Hopeful Sen. Amy Klobuchar’s Record Proves “Amy for America” Means Americans with Disabilities Too


Washington, D.C., April 9 – Senator Amy Klobuchar, the first woman elected to the U.S. Senate from Minnesota is running with the slogan, “Amy for America.” People with disabilities comprise 20 percent of our country’s population, and more than half of Americans have a loved one with a disability. A…

Presidential Hopeful John Hickenlooper Has a History of Improving the Lives of People with Disabilities

Washington, D.C., April 8 – With 74 percent of likely voters having a disability themselves or have a family member or a close friend with disabilities, 2020 presidential candidates are finding an important reason to ensure their campaigns are fully accessible for all Americans. “I’m running for president because we need…

Presidential Hopeful Gov. Jay Inslee Has History of Advocacy for People with Disabilities

Washington, D.C., March 1 – Washington Gov. Jay Inslee entered the crowded 2020 presidential race Friday, becoming the first sitting governor to do so. While he is making climate change a leading issue for his presidential bid, he has made disability employment a priority during his governorship. Gov. Inslee announced…

Heard During Klobuchar’s Town Hall: “Down syndrome,” “Alcoholism,” “Autism”

Manchester, New Hampshire, Feb. 19 – Words heard during the CNN Presidential Town Hall with presidential hopeful Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) included “Down syndrome,” “diabetes,” “alcoholism,” “addiction” and “autism.” During similar 2016 town halls on both sides of aisle, this did not occur, especially during the early part of the election season.

According to the Census Bureau, more than 56 million Americans live with some form of disability. This can include visible conditions such as spinal cord injuries, visual impairments or hearing loss to people living with invisible disabilities such as learning disabilities, mental health or Autism.

“The disability community is the only minority anyone can join at any time due to accident, illness or injury,” said former Representative and Dallas Mayor Steve Bartlett. Bartlett is the chairman of RespectAbility, a Washington-based nonpartisan nonprofit that fights stigmas and advances opportunities so people with disabilities can participate in all aspects of community.

Personal Connection to Disability

“I grew up in a family with alcoholism and addiction,” Klobuchar said when asked how being the daughter of an alcoholic affects her stance on health and addiction policy. “I had a lot of times in my life where I was taking the keys away or seeing him drink in the basement and it was a hard thing.”

She also shared a story of how when her daughter was born, she was unable to swallow yet kicked out of the hospital after 24 hours without help. Nearly a third of U.S. families have at least one member with a disability and 10 percent have at least one child with a disability. It is vital for leaders to share personal experiences with all types of disabilities – including addiction – to help reduce stigma surrounding them.

Klobuchar talked about how her state of Minnesota “has a lot of great treatment that I want to bring to the entire country, so everyone has this great treatment.”

“We need to make sure we are there for people, that we have treatment,” she added. “In the criminal justice system, we’re humane, that we use drug courts because once people get good treatment, they can get through anything.”

More than half of the audience raised their hands when asked if they were affected by the opioid crisis during the town hall. Responding to a question on how she would combat the opioid epidemic, Klobuchar said to “change prescribing habits across the country” and to fund treatment for addiction. What she did not mention, however, is that some people with chronic pain and other disabilities need opioids and use them responsibly.