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Category: Governors

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.

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.

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.

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.

Gov. Larry Hogan Reaches Out to People with Disabilities

Washington, D.C., August 20 – Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan 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.

“I truly believe our state is stronger when all of our citizens are able to contribute to their communities and reap the rewards of those contributions,” Gov. Hogan said at a national #ADA30 summit sponsored by RespectAbility, a nonpartisan nonprofit organization that fights stigmas and advances opportunities for people with disabilities. “Our administration remains committed to doing everything we can to make sure that adults with disabilities can obtain meaningful work, and to ensure that our schools and public places are examples of inclusion in both attitude and action.” More than 10,000 people watched RespectAbility’s online summit. 

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

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.”

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…

Expansion of Best Practices leads to 19,745 new jobs for Californians with Disabilities

Washington, D.C., April 2 – Nationwide 111,804 people with disabilities got new jobs last year, including 19,745 new jobs for Californians with disabilities. The Golden State now ranks 35th among the 50 states in terms of the employment rate for people with disabilities. The newly published 2018 Annual Disability Statistics Compendium shows there…

2,240 New Jobs for Louisianans with Disabilities as Gov. Edwards Launches Reelection Campaign

Washington, D.C., April 2 – While 111,804 jobs were gained by people with disabilities, 2,240 went to Louisianans with disabilities. The newly published 2018 Annual Disability Statistics Compendium shows there are 361,642 working-age (18-64) people with disabilities living in Louisiana. Out of that number, only 122,683 have jobs. That means…

Alaska Loses 275 Jobs for People with Disabilities; Ranks 12th in the Country for Disability Employment Rate

Washington, D.C., April 2 – While nationally 111,804 jobs were gained by people with disabilities, 275 people with disabilities in Alaska exited the workforce last year. Alaska now ranks 12th in the nation for employment rates of people with disabilities with 23,815 of the 53,087 working-age (18-64) Alaskans with disabilities…

GOOD NEWS! 11,473 new jobs for New Yorkers with Disabilities

Washington, D.C., April 1 – Nationwide 111,804 people with disabilities got new jobs last year, including 11,473 new jobs for New Yorkers with disabilities. The Empire State now ranks 38th among the 50 states in terms of employment rates for people with disabilities. The newly published 2018 Annual Disability Statistics Compendium shows there…

As Gov. Laura Kelly Takes Office, Kansas Becomes 7th in the Nation for Employment of People with Disabilities

Washington, D.C., March 29 – Amid a trend of nationwide job growth for people with disabilities, Kansas is outperforming far bigger states like California and Texas. According a new report by the nonpartisan advocacy group RespectAbility, the Sunflower State now ranks 7th in the nation for employment of people with disabilities,…

Bad News: 4,173 West Virginians with Disabilities Lose Jobs; Ranks Worst in Country

Washington, D.C., March 29 – While nationally 111,804 jobs were gained by people with disabilities, 4,173 people with disabilities in West Virginia exited the workforce last year. The newly published 2018 Annual Disability Statistics Compendium shows there are 188,696 working-age (18-64) people with disabilities living in West Virginia. Out of that number, only…

Great news: Minnesota Stands 5th in the Nation on Jobs for People with Disabilities as Gov. Tim Walz Takes Office

Washington, D.C., March 28 – Amid a trend of nationwide job growth for people with disabilities, Minnesota is outperforming far bigger states like California and Texas. According a new report by the nonpartisan advocacy group RespectAbility, the North Star State now ranks 5th in the nation for employment of people with disabilities.…