Denver, Colorado, Oct. 25 – With 57.3 percent of Colorado’s 308,342 working-age people with disabilities out of work, Democratic gubernatorial candidate and U.S. Rep. Jared Polis (D-2nd District) has responded to a questionnaire by the disabilities advocacy group RespectAbility, outlining his views on training and hiring people with disabilities.
In his responses to 10 questions submitted by the organization, Rep. Polis repeatedly cited his work in starting two nonprofits, TechStars and Operation Bootcamp, that helped those in underrepresented communities and returning veterans start their own businesses. Project Bootcamp, he noted, “specifically works with veterans and their families, many of whom live with a disability.”
In Congress, he said, he cosponsored legislation that, in his words “would help to bust stigma surrounding disabilities, while also working to expand access to career and life opportunities for people with disabilities.”
“I believe,” Polis said, “that if we work together to eliminate barriers to employment, independence and equality for people with disabilities, we will also be working to eliminate the destructive stigmas against peoples (sic) with disabilities, all while ensuring that every Coloradan, no matter who they are, can reach their full potential at work and at life.”
Referring to his experience as a member of the State Board of Education and in launching two public schools for students who need unique support to succeed, Polis said, “what I learned from all of this is that many students have limitations placed on them that they cannot control. I also learned that if our educational system can meet these students where they are, we can help them discover futures and careers of success.”
“Our nation was founded on the principle that anyone who works hard should be able to get ahead in life,” said RespectAbility’s President, Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi. “People with disabilities deserve equal opportunity to earn an income and achieve independence just like anyone else.”
RespectAbility also reached out repeatedly to Polis’ opponent, Republican State Treasurer Walker Stapleton, but received no response to the questionnaire from him, according to Mizrahi.
The full text of RespectAbility’s questions and Polis’ responses follows: