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Category: Senate

Tillis Completes Disability Candidate Questionnaire for North Carolina Senate Race

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

headshot Thom Tillis
North Carolina Incumbent Republican Sen. Thom Tillis

Raleigh, NC, Sept. 16 – Incumbent Republican Senator Thom Tillis 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 Tillis’ 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?

The COVID-19 pandemic has placed strain and major disruptions on our children, parents, teachers, and communities in North Carolina. That is why one of my highest priorities during this pandemic has been to secure emergency relief funds for our schools and students. I worked to secure $13.2 billion in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act for K-12 schools and students and an additional $3 billion in flexible emergency block grants designed to enable state governments to decide how best to meet the needs of their students and school districts. These funds are already being used in North Carolina to support the academic needs of at-risk students and students with disabilities through additional in-school support, after-school programming, tutoring, and hiring more teachers and teacher assistants to serve our special needs student population. 

I believe that the opportunity to work and pursue self-sufficiency plays a critical role in giving students with disabilities the critical skills needed to compete in a job-driven economy. We must work to ensure that students, including those with disabilities, have the skills and tools needed to find high-skill, high-wage, and in-demand jobs, which is why I was a strong supporter of the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act. I am working in coordination with our school districts, the Department of Public Instruction, and the State Board of Education as they work to get students back to receiving stable and reliable education during this unprecedented time and I will continue to advocate for the needs of our students during this pandemic.  

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.

Greenfield Completes Disability Candidate Questionnaire for Iowa Senate Race

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

headshot Theresa Greenfield
Iowa Democratic Senate candidate Theresa Greenfield

Des Moines, IA, Sept. 11 – Democratic Senate candidate Theresa Greenfield 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 Greenfield’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 the mother of a son with a disability, this is personal to me. I support fully funding the federal share of the Individuals with Disabilities Education ACT (IDEA). The federal share of IDEA funding is now less than 14 percent, far short of the 40 percent Congress promised to provide. This is especially important because the failure to fund IDEA fully has shifted costs to the states, forcing them to choose between raising taxes and cutting critical services. Congress should also lift the budget caps and increase funding for Title I programs for the students most in need, Title II funding for teacher development, IDEA funding for students with disabilities, and community schools.

Walsh Completes Disability Candidate Questionnaire for New Mexico Senate Race

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

headshot Bob Walsh
New Mexico Libertarian candidate for the Senate Bob Walsh

Santa Fe, NM, Sept. 10 – Libertarian Senate candidate Bob Walsh 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 Walsh’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?

The Constitution did not give Congress authority over education. The New Mexico Constitution requires free public schools sufficient for the education of all the children. A recent judgment enjoined the State to ensure that New Mexico schools have sufficient resources. The judgment includes resources necessary to give children with a disability the opportunity to obtain a uniform and sufficient education, an education that prepares them for college and career. Congressional action would be both unconstitutional and unnecessary.

Daines Completes Disability Candidate Questionnaire for Montana Senate Race

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

headshot Steve Daines
Montana Sen. Steve Daines

Helena, MT. Sept. 10 – Incumbent Republican Senator Steve Daines 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 Sen. Daines’ 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?

We need to ensure that all Americans with disabilities have access to the education opportunities that best fit their needs.That’s why I have always supported school choice – we need to be empowering parents and students to find what best fits them. As a father of four children, I understand that what one kid needs isn’t the same as what the other may need – that’s why as families, we must have the tools to ensure each one of our children has the education opportunities that’s the best option for them. I was proud to support IDEA funding, which provides critical education resources for those with disabilities and I’ll continue working to ensure those with disabilities have the resources they need to get the education they deserve and compete in today’s economy.

Hickenlooper Completes Disability Candidate Questionnaire for Colorado Senate Race

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

Denver, CO, Sept. 9 – Democratic Senate candidate and former Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper 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 Hickenlooper’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 AsianAmerican 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?

Hickenlooper will work to close the achievement gap supporting the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), expanding literacy opportunities, promoting STEM learning, funding Head Start and full-day kindergarten, and so much more. As senator, Hickenlooper will work to ensure every student can benefit from the foundation for future success that education provides.

Cunningham Completes Disability Candidate Questionnaire for North Carolina Senate Race

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

headshot Cal Cunningham
North Carolina Democratic Senate candidate Cal Cunningham

Raleigh, NC, Sept. 9 – Democratic Senate candidate Cal Cunningham 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 Governor 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 Cunningham’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?

The quality of our children’s education shouldn’t depend on where they grow up, their race, their wealth, or a disability, and I believe that public education—and the investments we make in our children through schools—should be an engine of opportunity for all North Carolinians. We must invest in opportunity through our schools by fully funding Title I and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, to provide schools the resources they need to succeed. I also support investment in specialized instructional support personnel, including counselors, psychologists, and other professionals, who address children’s unique academic and developmental needs and help ensure every child can thrive in school. 

Collins Completes Disability Candidate Questionnaire for Maine Senate Race

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

headshot Susan Collins
Maine Sen. Susan Collins

Portland, ME, Sept. 8 – In response to RespectAbility’s 2020 Disability Voter Questionnaire for Senate and Governor Races, Maine’s Republican Senator and embattled incumbent Susan Collins has responded with the following letter detailing some of her major legislative accomplishments, her past efforts to support Mainers with disabilities and her vision for the future of this country. 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.


While Sen. Collins did not answer each question directly, the full text of her letter follows:

Dear Mr. Kahn-Pauli,

Thank you for reaching out to inquire about RespectAbility’s policy priorities. I believe that actions speak louder than words, which is why it is my policy to allow organizations to grade me on my voting record, rather than on answers to questionnaires.

I welcome the opportunity to share my record in support of full community engagement for the one out of five Americans living with disabilities. This minority is the largest in the nation, and unique in that it is the only type that any individual can join at any point in their lives. As Senator and as Chairman of the Senate Aging Committee, I have long advocated for policies to promote equal opportunities and inclusive services for people with disabilities from childhood to senior years. We have made strides to improve education, employment, healthcare, and housing for people with disabilities. Now, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has exacerbated disparities, we must further advance public policies to promote inclusion for those living with disabilities, and I’m committed to achieving this goal.

Bullock Completes Disability Candidate Questionnaire for Montana Senate Race

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

headshot of steve bullock
Montana Gov. Steve Bullock

Helena, Montana, Sept. 8 – Democratic Senate candidate and current Montana Gov. Steve Bullock 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 Bullock’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?

Access to a high-quality public education is a right, and is fundamental to ensuring economic mobility. For too long, the federal government has failed to live up to its commitments under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, and our students and schools suffer for it. We must start by fully funding IDEA, and build on that progress by securing significant expansions of programs like TRIO that help students with disabilities enroll in higher education and achieve postsecondary degrees. We must also support transitions from education to workforce by investing vocational rehabilitation services, so that everyone has the resources they need to succeed.

Sen. Chris Van Hollen Reaches Out to People with Disabilities

Washington, D.C., August 20 – Maryland Sen. Chris Van Hollen 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.

“if you look over the last 30 years, we have made significant progress in the areas of education, in expanding services to people with disabilities, and in expanding opportunities,” Sen. Van Hollen said at a national #ADA30 summit sponsored by RespectAbility, a nonpartisan nonprofit organization that fights stigmas and advances opportunities for people with disabilities. “But as we take stock of the progress we’ve made, we also recognize that we’ve got a long journey still ahead to meet the promise of full equality and full inclusion.” 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

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.”

Stimulus Package Becomes Law – Here’s What It Means for People with Disabilities

Washington, D.C., March 27 – President Trump signed into law today the $2 trillion-dollar emergency stimulus aimed at propping up the economy during the current crisis. This law is unprecedented in its scope and is meant to help our nation respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. Even now, government agencies are going to work to implement the new law.

Millions of Americans living with disabilities are wondering what this new law means for them and whether they will see any benefit. The short answer is yes, but how far the law will go to help people with disabilities who are uniquely at-risk to the impact of the virus remains an open question.

The State of the Union and Addressing Disability Issues

Washington, D.C., Feb. 7 – Often presidential addresses to the nation fail to include people with disabilities and the state of their lives. However, President Donald J. Trump did not make that mistake in this year’s State of the Union address on Tuesday night. He mentioned Americans with disabilities and issues relevant to the disability community: employment, medical research and health care.

Unemployment for Americans with Disabilities Reached an All-Time Low

President Trump standing behind the podium of the House of Representatives, with Vice President, Mike Pence (on the left) and the Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi (on the right) seated behind him. Behind all three hangs the United States Flag. Trump, in proudly announcing our country’s strong economy, pointed to our record low unemployment numbers. When declaring these statistics for communities of color, he also boasted of an “all-time low” in unemployment for Americans with Disabilities.

Between 2015 and 2016, there was an astounding four-fold increase in the number of new jobs created for Americans with disabilities, going from 87,201 new jobs to 343,483. And from February 2016 until May 2018, there was a steady improvement in the unemployment situation for people with disabilities, reaching an all-time low.

However, in the last year, unemployment for Americans with Disabilities has stagnated. It increased by one tenth of a percentage appoint, from 29.9 percent in January 2018 to 29.8 percent in January 2019. Thus, the current unemployment rate for working-age non-institutionalized Americans with disabilities is at approximately 70.2 percent. See nTIDE January 2019 Jobs Report: Job Numbers Hold Steady for Americans with Disabilities. 

Candidates Who Support Opportunities for People with Disabilities Won Big

Washington, D.C., Nov. 19 – Key senate and gubernatorial candidates from both sides of the political aisle who support opportunities for people with disabilities won big this election, showing that disability rights is a winning issue. There are 56 million people with disabilities (one in five Americans), more than 35 million of…

Disability Advocates Casey and Wolf Win Re-Elections

Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, Nov. 9 – Both Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf and Sen. Bob Casey, Jr., successfully defended their seats against their challengers, Scott Wagner and Lou Barletta. Each of these individuals have spoken about the importance of including the more than 1.7 million Pennsylvanians living with a disability in society…

Disability Advocates Rosen and Sisolak Win Elections

Carson City, Nevada, Nov. 8 – Both Democrat Steve Sisolak and Jacky Rosen were elected to new positions in Nevada – Sisolak defeating Adam Laxalt for the governorship and Rosen defeating incumbent Dean Heller for U.S. Senate. While campaigning, both Rosen and Sisolak completed a disability issues questionnaire for Senate and…

Disability Supporter Rosen Wins Nevada Seat in U.S. Senate Race

Jacky Rosen headshotCarson City, Nevada, Nov. 7—Democratic U.S. Rep. Jacky Rosen was elected to the Nevada seat of the U.S. Senate yesterday in the midterm elections.

While campaigning, Rosen completed a disability issues questionnaire for Senate and gubernatorial candidates put out by RespectAbility, a nonpartisan, nonprofit national organization working to end stigmas and advance opportunities for people with disabilities. The questionnaire included 10 questions on topics important to people with disabilities and those close to them. Rosen’s competitor, incumbent Dean Heller, also completed the questionnaire. His responses can be viewed on the Respectability Report.

In response to the questionnaire, Rosen emphasized protecting the rights of people with disabilities in public spaces, including work spaces. “I believe the American Disabilities Act was a critical piece of legislation and we must continue to uphold it and ensure that people with disabilities always have a seat at the table and that their concerns and problems are heard and taken seriously,” she said in her response.

Rosen highlighted her record of supporting legislation that allows people with disabilities and their families to access assistive technology. She also stressed the importance of addressing workplace harassment against people with disabilities. “My bipartisan Sunlight in Workplace Harassment Act (H.R. 5028) would require publicly-traded companies to disclose payments of settlements for sexual harassment, abuse, and discrimination, including that based on disability status,” Rosen said.

There are 198,826 working-age people with disabilities living in Nevada, and 83,453 people have jobs. With an unemployment rate for people with disabilities of 58 percent, Nevada ranks 13th on this list of the best states for employment for people with disabilities (42 percent).

View Rosen’s full response to the questionnaire below:

Disability Advocate Bob Casey Keeps Pennsylvania Seat in U.S. Senate

My Portrait SessionsPhiladelphia, Pennsylvania, Nov. 6 – Democratic Sen. Bob Casey, Jr., successfully defended his seat against Republican challenger Lou Barletta, who had hoped to unseat Casey in Pennsylvania.

Earlier this campaign season, Casey completed a disability issues questionnaire for Senate and gubernatorial candidates put out by RespectAbility, a nonpartisan, nonprofit national organization working to end stigmas and advance opportunities for people with disabilities. The questionnaire included 10 questions on topics important to people with disabilities and those close to them. Despite repeated requests to his campaign, Barletta did not respond to the questionnaire.

More than 1.7 million Pennsylvanians live with a disability. That total includes people who are blind or deaf or have other visible conditions such as spinal cord injuries, as well as people with invisible disabilities including learning disabilities, mental health or Autism.

In responding to the questionnaire, Casey noted his efforts in blocking House-passed legislation, the Americans With Disabilities Education and Reform Act. “If passed,” Casey said, the legislation “would have gutted Title III of the Americans With Disabilities Act and removed the incentives for those providing services to the general public to make those services accessible for people with disabilities.”

“While employment, education, health care, and other key policies are critical to reaching the goals” of the Americans with Disabilities Act, he added, “protecting the civil rights of people with disabilities is primary and the House bill took direct aim at the rights of people with disabilities.”

With 64.5 percent of Pennsylvania’s 909,897 working-age people with disabilities out of work, employment is one area of high importance. There are reasons to optimistic. Last year, 6,993 Pennsylvanians with disabilities got new jobs and the year before that saw 13,763 people with disabilities getting new jobs. Pennsylvania currently ranks 31st in employing people with disabilities compared to the rest of the country. However, often there is an issue where if one makes too much money, they lose their ability to have any assistance – including a personal care assistant who may be necessary for an individual to live independently and then be able to be employed.

Casey noted that he was “the primary Senate author of the Stephen Beck A Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act in 2014, making it possible for people who acquire their disability before age 26 to open a savings account that allows them to save up to $15,000 a year up to a total of $100,000 and not lose their federal disability benefits… Since its passage, 39 states have created ABLE account programs, making it possible for people with disabilities to save for education expenses, begin small businesses, put away money for a car, or purchase a home.”

Pennsylvania is home to innovative programs for people with disabilities. Located in Bryn Mawr, JCHAI is a multi-faceted organization with cutting-edge inclusive, supportive vocational programs and living options for people with a range of disabilities. Across the state Project SEARCH offers school-to-work opportunities for youth with intellectual and developmental disabilities to enter the competitive workforce. Project SEARCH is a unique, employer-driven transition program that prepares students with disabilities for employment success. From serving seniors to opening pathways into healthcare careers, these opportunities are having transformative impacts on the lives of young people with disabilities. In diverse places such as UPMC Mercy Hospital in Pittsburgh, Wellspan Hospital in Gettysburg, Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Network in Allentown and at Drexel University, young Pennsylvanians with disabilities are receiving the training, experience and skills they need to succeed.

While Casey’s answers are extremely thorough in detailing policy toward full inclusion and equity for people with disabilities, Casey also works to ensure he practices what he preaches. His office has hired employees with disabilities and has worked with the Senate Democratic Diversity office “to create a database of people with disabilities interested in working in Senate offices both in Washington, D.C., and in the state offices.” By employing people with disabilities, Casey, and other Members of Congress, can become more informed about how different policies affect individuals with disabilities in a real way and ensure that people with disabilities are included throughout the entire process.

The full text of RespectAbility’s questions and Sen. Casey’s responses follows: