Skip to content

Category: Bernie Sanders

Sanders Completes Disability Candidate Questionnaire

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

close-up of Bernie Sanders smiling while wearing a suit and a tie
Bernie Sanders

Des Moines, Iowa, Jan. 11 – Presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders 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 all of the major presidential 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 Sanders’ responses follows:

1. What policies and actions do you support to reduce the stigmas of people with disabilities that are barriers to employment, independence and equality?

We recently celebrated the 29th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Despite the progress we’ve made, we unfortunately still live in a world where people with disabilities have fewer work opportunities and where the civil rights of people with disabilities are not always protected and respected. We must recommit to championing the rights of people with disabilities. As a nation, we have a moral responsibility to ensure that all people with disabilities have their rights protected.

We must guarantee people with disabilities the right to live in the community; truly integrated employment that pays a living wage; affordable, accessible housing; and the right to health care, including mental health care and home and community based services and supports.

Every person with a disability deserves the right to live in the community and have the services and supports they need to pursue the American Dream. This right must be available to all, free of waiting lists and means tests. It is our moral responsibility to make it happen.

When Bernie is in the White House he is committed to having an administration that looks like America to help show every person in America that not only do they belong in the White House that the White House needs them, their experience, knowledge, and advocacy in order to create an America that works for everyone.

As President, Bernie will create a National Office of Disability Coordination focused on coordinating disability policy making to advance the full inclusion of people with disabilities, including ensuring every aspect of our public resources are ADA compliant and that the civil rights of people with disabilities are enforced. This office will be run by a person with a disability.

Presidential Candidates’ Website Accessibility Improves but More Work Still Needed

Four Candidates – Biden, Booker, Castro and Yang – Have “Mostly Accessible” Websites

Washington, D.C., Dec. 19 – Nearly six months after a report by the Miami Lighthouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired found that all of the presidential candidates’ websites block democratic access to voters who are blind or have low vision, an update finds that still none of these websites – Democrat or Republican – are fully accessible. However, the Miami Lighthouse for the Blind found that many of the candidates’ websites do show improvements in accessibility.

The organization issued a challenge for the candidates in June: “ensure their websites are fully ADA compliant and immediately put an accessibility statement on their page.” Since then, both Entrepreneur Andrew Yang and Vice President Joe Biden’s have been deemed “mostly accessible” and are the only candidates who have qualified for the December debate to have scored higher than a 3.00 out of 4.00. 

Prioritizing Disability Employment in the Democratic Primary

Los Angeles, Dec. 17 – As seven presidential candidates get ready for the sixth Democratic debate on Thursday, The RespectAbility Report, an online publication focused on the intersection of politics and disability, has put together a comparison of the candidate’s positions on the employment of people with disabilities. The seven candidates who qualified for the debate are: Vice President Joe Biden, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, Sen. Bernie Sanders, businessman Tom Steyer, Sen. Elizabeth Warren and businessman Andrew Yang.

Of these candidates, five of them have a disability policy plan on their campaign website: Vice President BidenMayor ButtigiegSen. WarrenSen. Sanders and Yang. However, only Mayor Buttigieg and Sen. Warren’s plans address disability employment specifically and concretely.

Seven Democratic Campaigns Prioritize Disability Issues in Accessibility for All Forum

Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Nov. 24 – Earlier this month, seven presidential campaigns made history together as they participated in a Democratic Party forum, Accessibility for All, focused on issues affecting people with disabilities. This is the first time this campaign season that a forum was held specifically on this topic.…

8 Democratic Campaigns Participate in Forum Focused on People with Disabilities and Health Care

Washington, D.C., Nov. 1 – Tomorrow in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, eight campaigns are set to participate in a history-making Accessibility, Inclusion, and Outreach Conference focused specifically on issues that affect people with disabilities. This is important, as while recent polling suggests that voters with disabilities themselves are more enthusiastic about participating in the 2020 elections than the nation at large, none of the campaigns are yet fully accessible to the disability community.

“It is vital for the democratic process to be open to all people and all means all – including people with disabilities,” said Lauren Appelbaum, vice president, communications of RespectAbility. “The majority of voters have a friend or family member with a disability or have a disability themselves. It is truly exciting that eight campaigns will be focusing their attention on addressing the 1-in-5 people living in America with a disability.”

Seven of the Democratic candidates will participate themselves. They are:

  • Sen. Cory Booker 
  • Mayor Pete Buttigieg
  • Rep. John Delaney
  • Sen. Amy Klobuchar
  • Rep. Beto O’Rourke
  • Sen. Bernie Sanders
  • Mr. Andrew Yang 

Additionally, former Sen. Chris Dodd will speak on behalf of Vice President Joe Biden.

According to “Accessibility For All Now,” the organizers of the Forum, candidates will answer questions posed by people with disabilities and members of the Linn County Medical Society, which is co-hosting the forum. 

Presidential Candidates Discriminate Against Voters with Disabilities

Four Candidates – Biden, Booker, Warren, Yang – Have Made Substantial Improvements in Website Accessibility Washington, D.C., Sept. 12 – Nearly three months after a report by the Miami Lighthouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired found that all of the presidential candidates’ websites block democratic access to voters who are blind…

Bernie Sanders Says it is a Moral Responsibility to Champion Rights of People with Disabilities on Anniversary of the ADA

Washington, D.C., July 30 – In commemoration of the 29th anniversary of the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) on Friday, Bernie Sanders called for recommitting to “championing the rights of people with disabilities,” citing a “moral responsibility.” “We must guarantee people with disabilities the right to live in the community; truly integrated…

With 13 Candidates Celebrating the Anniversary of the ADA, Will They Talk About Disability at the Debates?

Washington, D.C., July 30 – This year marks the 29th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) becoming law. The ADA was intended to ensure that people with disabilities could earn an income and achieve independence, just like anyone else. With the Democratic candidates debating this week in Detroit,…

How Accessible and Inclusive Are the Presidential Candidates’ Campaigns?

How to Tell If a Presidential Campaign is Inclusive of People with Disabilities Washington, D.C., June 26 – On the eve of the first round of Democratic debates, it is important to remember that one important group of swing voters are people with disabilities, who comprise 20 percent of our…

Will Voters with Disabilities Determine Campaign 2020?

Washington, D.C., June 25 – Two separate bipartisan polls following the last presidential election showed that voters with disabilities and their family and friends voted in big numbers for President Donald Trump. Fully three-quarters of likely voters either have a disability themselves or have a family member, or a close friend with disabilities. Therefore, as the 2020 campaign heats up, it is in the best interest of every presidential candidate and the citizens of this country for candidates to recognize disability issues during their campaigns.

“Candidates for office ignore the disability community at their peril,” said former U.S. Representative and Dallas Mayor Steve Bartlett. Bartlett, who was a primary author of the Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990, is the board chair of RespectAbility, a Washington-based nonpartisan nonprofit that fights stigmas and advances opportunities so people with disabilities can participate in all aspects of community. “People with disabilities are politically active swing voters, and candidates should take note of the important issues they care about.”

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.

Sanders Campaign “Committed to Ensuring Accessibility is at Forefront of Everything we Build”

Washington, D.C., June 13 – The Sanders campaign, which is the only one to have a dedicated page on its website for disability rights, has pledged continued accessibility in response to a question posed to all of the viable 2020 presidential candidates by RespectAbility, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that fights stigmas…

Sen. Sanders Pledges to “Champion Expanding the Rights of People with Disabilities”

Sanders Campaign Only One to Have Dedicated Page on Website for Disability Rights Washington, D.C., May 28 – Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders is no stranger to the presidential primary campaign. As he did in 2016, his campaign has a dedicated page on their website for disability issues. While some of the…

Will Bernie, Hillary or Trump Win the California Disability Vote?

5.9 Million Eligible Voters with a Disability in California Washington, June 2 – Next week’s California primary is being called the final battleground for the Democratic primary. While Hillary Clinton is expected to secure the nomination in New Jersey, which also goes to the polls on June 7, California has become an…

Clinton, Sanders Woo New York’s Disability Voters

Washington, April 12 – There’s a noticeable shift in the content of the Democratic presidential nominees as Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders are taking turns pushing the disability agenda – a first for any presidential campaign. Both the former Secretary of State and Vermont Senator were quick to complete the #PwDsVote 2016 Campaign…

Sanders Becomes Co-Sponsor of Disability Integration Act

Washington, April 7 – Sen. Bernie Sanders signed on as a cosponsor of The Disability Integration Act (DIA) on the same day his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton released an official statement on her website announcing support of the bill. The DIA was introduced in the Senate in December 2015 by…

Sanders: End Subminimum Wage for People with Disabilities

Washington, April 5 – Sen. Bernie Sanders is joining the rally call to raise the minimum wage to $15 for all workers – including people with disabilities. “This campaign is about building on these successes so that everyone in this country can enjoy the dignity and basic economic security that…

Hillary Clinton’s Making the Case Against Subminimum Wage for People with Disabilities

Washington, March 29 – On Monday, Secretary Hillary Clinton called for the end of tiered wages and the increase of the minimum wage for all people, including those with disabilities. “When it comes to jobs, we’ve got to figure out how we get the minimum wage up and include people…

Flint Debate Misses Opportunity to Highlight Disability

Washington, March 7 – The Democratic debate held in Flint, Michigan last night had potential to delve into a variety of disability topics. Flint is a disability issue after all, as the water crises causes lead poisoning, which results in a variety of intellectual and developmental disabilities. “Imagine this for a…

Bernie’s Joke on Republicans Offends Disability Community

Washington, March 7 – During last night’s Democratic debate, Sen. Bernie Sanders made a joke about the Republican candidates – but offended many in the mental health community. “We are, if elected president, going to invest a lot of money into mental health,” Sanders said. “And when you watch these…

Clinton: Invest in People with Disabilities

Washington, Feb. 21 – During last night’s victory speech in Nevada, presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton addressed the disability community, pledging to ensure that they would have the same opportunities as anyone else to participate in society. “Don’t you think it’s time to face head-on the reality of systemic racism and…