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Category: Senate

Brown Responds to Disabilities Questionnaire

Washington, D.C., Oct. 17 – Responding today to a questionnaire by the disability advocacy group RespectAbility, Ohio Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown outlines his views on training and hiring the 807,700 working-age people with disabilities in Ohio, who have an unemployment rate of 64.3 percent. According to a recent survey, 74 percent of likely voters…

Casey Completes Disabilities Questionnaire

Washington, D.C., Oct. 17 – Responding today to a questionnaire by the disability advocacy group RespectAbility, Pennsylvania Democratic Sen. Bob Casey Jr. outlined his views on training and hiring the 889,200 working-age people with disabilities in Pennsylvania, who have an unemployment rate of 64.8 percent. According to a recent survey, 74 percent of likely…

Warren Completes Disabilities Questionnaire

Washington, D.C., Oct. 17 – Responding today to a questionnaire by the disability advocacy group RespectAbility, Massachusetts Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren outlined her views on training and hiring the 371,800 working-age people with disabilities in Massachusetts, who have an unemployment rate of 61.1 percent. According to a recent survey, 74 percent of likely voters have…

Curtis Responds to Disabilities Questionnaire

Washington, D.C., Oct. 17 – Responding today to a questionnaire by the disability advocacy group RespectAbility, Republican nominee for Senate Ron Curtis outlined his views on training and hiring the 65,700 working-age people with disabilities in Hawaii, who have an unemployment rate of 59.5 percent. According to a recent survey, 74 percent of likely…

Heller Completes Disabilities Questionnaire

Washington, D.C., Oct. 17 – Responding today to a questionnaire by the disability advocacy group RespectAbility, Nevada Republican Sen. Dean Heller outlined his views on training and hiring the 193,100 working-age people with disabilities in Nevada, who have an unemployment rate of 57.4 percent. According to a recent survey, 74 percent of likely voters…

Cardin Completes Disabilities Questionnaire

Rockville, Maryland, Oct. 17  – Responding today to a questionnaire by the disability advocacy group RespectAbility, Maryland Democratic Sen. Ben Cardin outlined his views on training and hiring the 321,00 working-age people with disabilities in Maryland, who have an unemployment rate of 57.8 percent. According to a recent survey, 74 percent of likely voters…

Heitkamp Completes Disabilities Questionnaire

Washington, D.C., Oct. 8 – RespectAbility, a nonprofit organization fighting stigmas and advancing opportunities for people with disabilities, has asked gubernatorial candidates on all sides of the aisle to fill out a questionnaire on disability issues. Heidi Heitkamp is a current U.S. Senator for North Dakota. A Democrat, she has served since…

Arlett Responds to Disabilities Questionnaire

Washington, D.C., Oct. 8 – RespectAbility, a nonprofit organization fighting stigmas and advancing opportunities for people with disabilities, has asked gubernatorial candidates on all sides of the aisle to fill out a questionnaire on disability issues. Robert Arlett is the Republican nominee for the Delaware Senate race in the 2018 midterms. He…

Rosen Completes Disabilities Questionnaire

Washington, D.C., Oct. 8 – RespectAbility, a nonprofit organization fighting stigmas and advancing opportunities for people with disabilities, has asked gubernatorial candidates on all sides of the aisle to fill out a questionnaire on disability issues. Jacky Rosen is the current U.S. Representative for Nevada’s third district. She has served as representative…

King Responds to Disabilities Questionnaire

Washington, D.C., Oct. 6 – RespectAbility, a nonprofit organization fighting stigmas and advancing opportunities for people with disabilities, has asked candidates for U.S. Senate on all sides of the aisle to fill out a questionnaire on disability issues. RespectAbility is nonpartisan and does not endorse candidates. The questionnaire is purely for educational purposes.

This is important for Maine’s 206,00 citizens with disabilities. Only 32.6 percent of the 106,00 working-age people with disabilities in Maine are employed. Further, there are more than 22,000 youth with disabilities and each year a quarter of them will age out of school into an uncertain future.

According to a recent survey, 74 percent of likely voters have a disability themselves or have a family member or a close friend with disabilities. The upcoming elections and their results will have an impact on people with disabilities, so it is important to become familiar with the candidates’ thoughts on certain issues.

“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 chairman of RespectAbility.

While incumbent Sen. Angus King, an Independent running for re-election to the U.S. Senate in Maine, did not answer RespectAbility’s questionnaire, he shared responses to a different questionnaire he completed on disability inclusion. We are presenting those answers below.

RespectAbility also sent our questionnaire to the campaigns of Republican State Senator Eric Brakery and Democrat Zak Ringelstein.

Senator Angus S. King Jr’s responses to another disability questionnaire are below.

2018 #PwDsVote Disability Questionnaire for Senate and Gubernatorial Candidates

Questions Focus on Issues Relating to Employment and Stigma

In 2016, RespectAbility, a Washington-based nonpartisan nonprofit that fights stigmas and advances opportunities so people with disabilities can participate in all aspects of community, sent the #PwDsVote Presidential Campaign Questionnaire to all of the presidential candidates and #PwDsVote Disability Questionnaire for Senate and Gubernatorial Candidates for down-ballot candidates. For 2018, RespectAbility has once again been reaching out to down-ballot candidates and is posting all responses in full on The RespectAbility Report, a nonpartisan political commentary on U.S. elections with a focus on disability issues. The RespectAbility Report is nonpartisan and does not endorse candidates. The questionnaire is purely for educational purposes.

According to a recent survey, 74 percent of likely voters  have a disability themselves or have a family member or a close friend with disabilities.

“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 chairman of RespectAbility.

Below are the questions RespectAbility submitted to the campaigns. RespectAbility also provided each candidate with a 10-page resource guide to help with answering these questions. Download the PDF.

Senators Discuss Opioid Painkillers Overdose Epidemic

Washington, D.C., Oct. 27 – “I woke up in the morning to my wife screaming, ‘Thad, wake up! Thad, wake up!’” said Todd Burke, father of then 22-year-old Thad Burke. The grieving father spoke with a shaky voice through tears to an audience of journalists and advocates live on stage…

Burr (NC-R), Hassan (NH-D), Van Hollen (MD-D) Highlighted Disability in Campaign TV Ads

Washington, Nov. 12 – Multiple winning Senate campaigns touted their work on disability issues in television ads as a new poll shows that addressing disability issues is a winning campaign strategy. In the final days of the election season, Rep. Chris Van Hollen, a Democrat who won the open U.S. Senate seat in…

Hassan, Advocate for People with Disabilities, Wins New Hampshire Senate Bid

Washington, Nov. 9 – In New Hampshire, Democrat Gov. Maggie Hassan beat Republican incumbent Sen. Kelly Ayotte for the Senate seat in one of the most closely watched and evenly matched races. Hassan’s first ad told the story of her son Ben, who has cerebral palsy, is a wheelchair user and…

Down Ballot Candidates who Support Opportunities for People with Disabilities Win Big

Washington, Nov. 9 – RespectAbility congratulates Mr. Donald Trump on his win of the presidency and looks forward to working with his new administration in the future and sincerely hopes he will work with diverse parts of America in every sense of the word.

Looking down ballot, several senate and gubernatorial candidates who support opportunities for people with disabilities (PwDs) won big Tuesday night – confirming the results from a new poll released last week. The poll showed that voters were more likely to support candidates who prioritize ensuring that children with disabilities get the education and training they need to succeed as well expanding job and career opportunities for people with disabilities. The poll also showed that voters with disabilities overwhelmingly thought that America was on the wrong track.

There are 56 million people with disabilities (one in five Americans), more than 35 million of whom are eligible voters (one-sixth of the electorate). The poll showed that half of voters either have a disability or a loved one with a disability.

RespectAbility, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization working to end stigmas and advance opportunities for people with disabilities, reached out to candidates for president, governor and U.S. Senate – requesting them to complete the #PwDsVote disability questionnaire on multiple disability topics ranging from employment, education, violence and abuse, criminal justice, healthcare and more.

On the presidential level former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton filled out the full questionnaire. Mr. Trump did not. However, both Clinton and Trump completed the AAPD/NCIL presidential questionnaire.

Forty down ballot candidates, including 26 for Senate and 11 for governor, from both sides of the aisle (25 Democrats, 14 Republicans, 1 Green Party) responded to the #PwDsVote questionnaire, showing that disability rights is a nonpartisan issue. The responses also were geographically diverse, coming from states all around the country as politicians are paying more and more attention to the disability community.

Of those who responded, 11 candidates have won their election as of Wednesday morning. These include Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC), Atty. Gen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Rep. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Atty. Gen. Kamala Harris (D-CA), Gov. Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), all of whom have won their senate races; Rep. John Carney (D-DE), Gov. Steve Bullock (D-MT) and Lt. Gov. Phil Scott (R-VT), who won races for governor; and Rep. Jim Langevin (D-RI), who has won re-election to Congress. Please follow the links in the table below to read more about each of these candidates’ disability policies that affect 56 million Americans.

State Winning Candidate Race
California Atty. Gen. Kamala Harris (D) Senate
Delaware Rep. John Carney (D) Governor
Illinois Rep. Tammy Dukworth (D) Senate
Maryland Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D) Senate
Montana Gov. Steve Bullock (D) Governor
Nevada Atty. Gen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D) Senate
New Hampshire Gov. Maggie Hassan (D) Senate
North Carolina Sen. Richard Burr (R) Senate
Rhode Island Rep. Jim Langevin (D) Congress
Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy (D) Senate
Vermont Lt. Gov. Phil Scott (R) Governor

Cortez Masto, First Latina Woman in Senate, Pledges to Fight for Equal Rights for People with Disabilities

Washington, Nov. 8 – Former Democrat Atty. Gen. Catherine Cortez Masto beat three-term Republican Rep. Joe Heck in a close race to fill the seat of Sen. Harry Reid, the Democratic minority leader, who is retiring after three decades in the Senate. She will be the first Latina woman to be in the U.S. Senate.

Cortez Masto completed the #PwDsVote Disability Questionnaire for presidential, senate and gubernatorial candidates put out by RespectAbility, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization working to end stigmas and advance opportunities for people with disabilities. Heck also responded to the questionnaire.

In her response to the disability questionnaire, Cortez Masto emphasized the need to reduce stigma due to the damage it causes to individuals.

“Too often people with disabilities carry these prejudices when applying for employment or housing,” she responded in the questionnaire. “I have always fought for workers’ rights, and fair and equal employment opportunities – and fighting for fair and equitable treatment for people with disabilities is no exception. I support legislation that would prohibit employers from paying workers with disabilities less than their counterparts, and I oppose legislation that discriminates against applicants.”

Nevada has 357,035 citizens with disabilities. Currently 40.9 percent of working-age Nevadans with disabilities are employed compared to 74 percent of those without disabilities. Nevada is a leader in disability employment, as the gap between the employment of people with and without disabilities currently stands at 33.4 percent, the second lowest in the nation only behind North Dakota. There are 201,717 Nevadans with disabilities who are between the ages of 18-64. Additionally, there are 8,200 Nevadans ages 16-20 with disabilities. More than 42,000 Nevada students have individual education plans (IEPs).

There are 56 million people with disabilities (one in five Americans), more than 35 million of whom are eligible voters (one-sixth of the electorate). A new poll showed that half of voters either have a disability or a loved one with a disability. The poll also showed that voters were more likely to support candidates who prioritize ensuring that children with disabilities get the education and training they need to succeed as well expanding job and career opportunities for people with disabilities.

RespectAbility reached out to candidates for president, governor and U.S. Senate – requesting them to complete the #PwDsVote disability questionnaire on multiple disability topics ranging from employment, education, violence and abuse, criminal justice, healthcare and more.

On the presidential level, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton filled out the full questionnaire. Despite numerous requests in person and by phone and email, Mr. Trump did not.

Forty down ballot candidates, including 26 for Senate and 11 for governor, from both sides of the aisle (25 Democrats, 14 Republicans, 1 Green Party) responded, showing that disability rights is a nonpartisan issue. The responses also were geographically diverse, coming from states all around the country as politicians are paying more and more attention to the disability community.

View Cortez Masto’s response to the questionnaire below:

Kamala Harris Wins California Senate Seat

Washington, Nov. 8 – Democrat Kamala Harris is set to be California’s next U.S. Senator, after beating Loretta Sanchez in this year’s election.

Harris completed the #PwDsVote Disability Questionnaire for presidential, senate and gubernatorial candidates put out by RespectAbility, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization working to end stigmas and advance opportunities for people with disabilities. Sanchez also responded to the questionnaire.

The Harris campaign response spoke of her dedication to supporting legislation that further disability rights.

“As San Francisco District Attorney and California Attorney General, Kamala has a lengthy record of advocating for civil rights, including disability rights, women’s rights, racial justice, and LGBT equality,” the Harris campaign responded. “In the Senate, Kamala will continue her civil rights advocacy for persons with disabilities by ensuring that the ADA is fully enforced and that similar international laws, such as the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, are given full effect.”

California has 4,019,882 citizens with disabilities. There are 2,010,783 Californians with disabilities who are between the ages of 18-64. Currently only 33.3 percent of working-age Californians with disabilities are employed compared to 72.2 percent of those without disabilities. Additionally, there are 115,000 Californians ages 16-20 with disabilities. More than 613,000 California students have individual education plans (IEPs).

There are 56 million people with disabilities (one in five Americans), more than 35 million of whom are eligible voters (one-sixth of the electorate). A new poll showed that half of voters either have a disability or a loved one with a disability. The poll also showed that voters were more likely to support candidates who prioritize ensuring that children with disabilities get the education and training they need to succeed as well expanding job and career opportunities for people with disabilities.

RespectAbility reached out to candidates for president, governor and U.S. Senate – requesting them to complete the #PwDsVote disability questionnaireon multiple disability topics ranging from employment, education, violence and abuse, criminal justice, healthcare and more.

On the presidential level, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton filled out the full questionnaire. Despite numerous requests in person and by phone and email, Mr. Trump did not.

Forty down ballot candidates, including 26 for Senate and 11 for governor, from both sides of the aisle (25 Democrats, 14 Republicans, 1 Green Party) responded, showing that disability rights is a nonpartisan issue. The responses also were geographically diverse, coming from states all around the country as politicians are paying more and more attention to the disability community.

View Harris’ response to the questionnaire below:

Burr Promotes Work on ABLE Act in Campaign, Wins Re-Election

Washington, Nov 8 – North Carolina Republican Sen. Richard M. Burr, a 20-year Republican veteran of Congress, won a tough re-election against Deborah Ross, a Democratic former state director of the American Civil Liberties Union.

Burr completed the #PwDsVote Disability Questionnaire for presidential, senate and gubernatorial candidates put out by RespectAbility, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization working to end stigmas and advance opportunities for people with disabilities. Ross also responded to the questionnaire.

“As a senior member of the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions, I worked closely with my colleagues to pass the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act of 2014,” Burr responded in the questionnaire. “This means people with disabilities will have a greater opportunity to achieve self-sufficiency and competitive integrated employment, which will ultimately enhance their life opportunities. For this, I was pleased to support WIOA.”

Throughout the campaign, Burr promoted his work on the bipartisan Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) act and how this law empowers people with disabilities and their families to save money without fearing the loss of essential benefits.

statewide political ad featured a North Carolina family with two children on the Autism Spectrum discussing how the entire family benefits from these new 529 savings accounts. The YouTube version of the ad, which is the version embedded on the campaign’s website, and the Facebook upload, both include captions, which is important for the 37.5 million American adults aged 18 and over who report some trouble hearing.

The campaign’s website also included two pages on the topic – a press release about the ad and a page devoted to “Working Across the Aisle for People with Disabilities.” Both pages contain facts and figures about the ABLE Act emphasizing Burr’s continuing, bipartisan work on the ABLE to Work Act, the ABLE Age Adjustment Act and the ABLE Financial Planning Act.

As Burr wrote in an op-ed in May 2016: “In my view, ABLE accounts are a milestone in a larger movement to create opportunity and independence for those impacted by disability.”

Burr also made a campaign stop to bring attention to the critical challenges facing people with disabilities living in North Carolina. In August, he visited Bitty and Beau’s Coffee Shop in Wilmington, North Carolina, which is “run by people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.” This coffee shop provides a current team of 40 employees the opportunity to live and work as a fixture of their local community.

While Burr advertised his work on the ABLE Act during the campaign, many people with disabilities in North Carolina struggle to find work. North Carolina has 1,330,804 citizens with disabilities. Currently, only 30 percent of the 715,508 working-age North Carolinians with disabilities have a job. Each year, one quarter of North Carolina’s 36,600 youth with disabilities will leave the school system and face an uncertain future. Despite solid job growth, the Tar Heel state currently ranks 39th in the nation in terms of the employment rate for people with disabilities.

There are 56 million people with disabilities (one in five Americans), more than 35 million of whom are eligible voters (one-sixth of the electorate). A new poll showed that half of voters either have a disability or a loved one with a disability. The poll also showed that voters were more likely to support candidates who prioritize ensuring that children with disabilities get the education and training they need to succeed as well expanding job and career opportunities for people with disabilities.

RespectAbility reached out to candidates for president, governor and U.S. Senate – requesting them to complete the #PwDsVote disability questionnaire on multiple disability topics ranging from employment, education, violence and abuse, criminal justice, healthcare and more.

On the presidential level, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton filled out the full questionnaire. Despite numerous requests in person and by phone and email, Mr. Trump did not.

Forty down ballot candidates, including 26 for Senate and 11 for governor, from both sides of the aisle (25 Democrats, 14 Republicans, 1 Green Party) responded, showing that disability rights is a nonpartisan issue. The responses also were geographically diverse, coming from states all around the country as politicians are paying more and more attention to the disability community.

View Burr’s response to the questionnaire below:

Duckworth Unseats Kirk, Wins Illinois Senate Seat

Washington, Nov. 8 – In Illinois, Democrat Rep. Tammy Duckworth successfully unseated Republican incumbent Sen. Mark Kirk for the U.S. Senate seat. Duckworth is a military veteran who lost both of her legs in Iraq after the Black Hawk helicopter she was co-piloting was shot down by a rocket-propelled grenade…

Van Hollen, Advocate for People with Disabilities, Victorious in Maryland Senate Bid

Washington, Nov. 8 – In Maryland, Rep. Chris Van Hollen won the race to become the state’s next U.S. Senator, defeating Republican Kathy Szeliga. Van Hollen completed the #PwDsVote Disability Questionnaire for presidential, senate and gubernatorial candidates put out by RespectAbility, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization working to end stigmas and…