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Category: Kamala Harris

Biden’s First Day as President Includes People with Disabilities

Washington, D.C., January 20 – After unprecedented outreach to the disability community during the campaign, President-elect Joe Biden and his team are continuing to include people with disabilities as they take office this afternoon.

One of Biden’s day one executive actions is to “Launch a Whole-of-Government Initiative to Advance Racial Equity.” According to the team, “The president-elect’s equity agenda is grounded in advancing racial justice and building back better for communities who have been underserved, including people of color and Americans with disabilities, LGBTQ+ Americans, religious minorities, and rural and urban communities facing persistent poverty.”

The Presidential Inaugural Committee is presenting today’s inauguration with live captions, ASL picture in picture, audio description, and other accessibility features on YouTube. Use the links below to watch the ceremony and primetime program.

Biden, Harris, Ossoff and Warnock, who reached out to voters with disabilities, to be sworn in today

Washington, D.C., January 20 – Today is Inauguration Day, and that means that four candidates who reached out to voters with disabilities will be sworn into office. RespectAbility congratulates President-elect Joe Biden, Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, and Senators-elect Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff. We look forward to working with them on issues impacting voters with disabilities.

Reaching out to the disability community may have been part of the reason that these candidates won their elections. Researchers at Rutgers University estimated that approximately 38.3 million people with disabilities were eligible to vote in last year’s election, which is roughly one-sixth of the electorate. Voters with disabilities want access in democracy, just like anyone else. At the same time, they have specific issues of interest. For example, of the 22 million working age (18-64) people with disabilities in our country, fully 70 percent of them are outside of the labor force.

The one in four adults with disabilities include people with spinal cord injuries, low vision or who are Deaf/Hard of Hearing, as well as those with learning disabilities, mental health conditions, Autism or other disabilities. The sheer number of people with disabilities makes them the nation’s largest minority community.

Read more below about outreach to the disability community from these four candidates.

Buttigieg Stresses Importance of Including Disability Community in Policy Decisions

Washington, D.C., Oct. 12 – When presidential candidates include senior staff and advisors with disabilities, with the same effort as other marginalized populations, they are exposed to a variety of thoughts and ideas. Mayor Pete Buttigieg proved that during a recent interview with The New Republic when he noted the…

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…

Harris Calls for Empowering “Ignored” Communities, Stresses Environmental Justice, During CNN Climate Town Hall

New York City, Sept. 5 – Sen. Kamala Harris called for environmental justice to empower “ignored” communities during the climate town hall on CNN. Carson Tueller, a man with a spinal cord injury who has thermodysregulation, leaving his body unable to control its own temperature and unable to sweat, asked…

Plastic Straw Ban Becomes Topic of Debate During CNN Climate Town Hall

New York City, Sept. 4 – For more than a year now, disability advocates have admonished the plastic straw ban, because it is clear the policy was enacted without the involvement of people with disabilities, some of whom need plastic straws to survive.  During the CNN Climate Town Hall, Sen. Kamala…

Kamala Harris Aims to Expand Economic Opportunity for Americans with Disabilities

Washington, D.C., August 29 – Presidential hopeful Sen. Kamala Harris is calling for expanded “economic opportunity and security for people with disabilities” in a plan unveiled today. She points out that just one-third of people with disabilities who are working-age are employed, compared to three-quarters of those without disabilities in the same age range.

Sen. Harris’ plan focuses on ways to “eliminate barriers that make it harder for people with disabilities to fully participate in our workforce.” One-in-four adults in the United States today have a disability and just 37 percent of those who are ages 18-64 are employed. This means that out of more than 20 million working-age people with disabilities, just 7.5 million have jobs. 

Her plan includes six parts:

Kamala Harris Campaign Launches Americans with Disabilities Leadership Council on Anniversary of the ADA

Washington, D.C., July 30 – Kamala Harris, who held an hour-long call with her supporters in commemoration of the 29th anniversary of the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) on Friday, wrote a blog post “recommitting to build an America that is fully inclusive and accessible for everyone,” noting that there is still a lot…

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.

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.