Skip to content

The RespectAbility Report Posts

Presidential Candidates & Advancing Assistive Technology for People with Disabilities

Washington, D.C., Jan 30 – As a nonpartisan national nonprofit organization fighting stigmas and advancing opportunities so people with disabilities can participate fully in all aspects of community, RespectAbility has invited all candidates in the presidential race on both sides of the aisle to submit their answers to a 2020 Disability Voter Candidate Questionnaire. Question 12 in the Questionnaire was: “How would you advance innovations (i.e., assistive technologies, devices) that can help people with disabilities become more successfully employed, productive and independent?

Below, read the answers from the five candidates who responded:

Presidential Candidates & Education for Students with Disabilities

Washington, D.C., Jan 30 – As a nonpartisan national nonprofit organization fighting stigmas and advancing opportunities so people with disabilities can participate fully in all aspects of community, RespectAbility has invited all candidates in the presidential race on both sides of the aisle to submit their answers to a 2020 Disability Voter Candidate Questionnaire. Question 4 in the Questionnaire was: “The jobs of the future will largely require post-secondary education or other credentials. Today 65 percent of students with disabilities complete high school. What policies do you advocate to support the academic and career success of students with disabilities, especially for students from historically marginalized communities and backgrounds?”

Below, read the answers from the five candidates who responded:

Presidential Candidates & Criminal Justice Reform for People with Disabilities

Washington, D.C., Jan 29 – As a nonpartisan national nonprofit organization fighting stigmas and advancing opportunities so people with disabilities can participate fully in all aspects of community, RespectAbility has invited all candidates in the presidential race on both sides of the aisle to submit their answers to a 2020 Disability…

Presidential Candidates Court Voters with Disabilities With Plans to Reduce Stigmas

Washington, D.C., Jan 29 – As a nonpartisan national nonprofit organization fighting stigmas and advancing opportunities so people with disabilities can participate fully in all aspects of community, RespectAbility has invited all candidates in the presidential race on both sides of the aisle to submit their answers to a 2020 Disability…

Presidential Candidates Reveal Climate Plans for People with Disabilities

Washington, D.C., Jan 29 – As a nonpartisan national nonprofit organization fighting stigmas and advancing opportunities so people with disabilities can participate fully in all aspects of community, RespectAbility has invited all candidates in the presidential race on both sides of the aisle to submit their answers to a 2020 Disability Voter Candidate Questionnaire. Question 14 in the Questionnaire was: “People with disabilities are at extreme risk from climate change. What are your plans to reduce the climate crisis and to create emergency solutions for people with disabilities when disasters strike?”

Below, read the answers from the five candidates who responded:

Presidential Candidates Reveal Plans to Enable Success for Immigrants with Disabilities

Washington, D.C., Jan 28 – Yesterday, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a major 5-4 ruling allowing an expansion of the definition of “public charge” to deny green cards to people who may need government aid. This ruling will directly impact immigrants with disabilities who would qualify for Medicaid. Meanwhile, with only days…

Presidential Candidates Court Voters with Disabilities With Youth Employment Strategies

Washington, D.C., Jan 28 – With only days before the Iowa Caucus, presidential candidates are reaching out to voters with disabilities and their loved ones with specific plans for youth employment. According to the CDC, approximately one-in-four adults living in the community have a disability. Research conducted in the 2018 election shows…

Early Voting Begins: A Voter Guide for Californians with Disabilities

First Edition of California Voting Guide Highlights Presidential Candidates’ Responses to 2020 Disability Candidate Questionnaire 

Los Angeles, Jan. 27 – As Californians with and without disabilities get ready to go to the polls to vote in their state’s primary election, a disability rights nonprofit has released its California State Voter Guide. While primary election day in California is on March 3, 2020, early voting begins weeks before in many localities across the Golden State. Early voting gives voters with and without disabilities the flexibility and choice to their ballots long before primary day. 

Research conducted in the 2018 election shows that 74 percent of likely voters either 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’ positions on certain issues.

A Voter Guide for Iowans with Disabilities

First Edition of Iowa Voting Guide Highlights Presidential Candidates’ Responses to 2020 Disability Candidate Questionnaire 

Des Moines, Jan. 24 – As Iowans with and without disabilities get ready to caucus in their state’s primary election, a disability rights nonprofit has released its Iowa State Voter Guide. Research conducted in the 2018 election shows that 74 percent of likely voters either 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’ positions on certain issues.

2020 Disability Voter Guide

As a nonpartisan national nonprofit organization fighting stigmas and advancing opportunities so people with disabilities can participate fully in all aspects of community, RespectAbility has invited all candidates in the presidential race on both sides of the aisle to submit their answers to a 2020 Disability Voter Candidate Questionnaire. This questionnaire covers some of the most important issues impacting people with disabilities including employment, education, immigration, criminal justice and accessibility. 

Several high-profile candidates recently submitted their completed questionnaires: 

DNC Chair Perez Calls for More Inclusion of People with Disabilities

Des Moines, Iowa, Jan. 20 – The majority of Americans either have a disability or a loved one with a disability. Yet, disability is very rarely addressed on the debate stage. 

Democratic National Committee Chair Chairman Tom Perez spoke to RespectAbility prior to last week’s debate about the importance of including people with disabilities. He touted his work on ensuring that people with disabilities can live in the community and that employers provide accommodations for employees with disabilities. 

“We got to stop focusing on the first three letters of the word disability and focus more on the last seven letters of the word disability and you will see that in our platform,” Perez added. “You will see that in everything we do. You will see that in Milwaukee, the most accessible convention ever.”

Yang: “Need to do Much More to Help People with Disabilities Access Opportunities and Jobs”

Ames, Iowa, Jan. 19 – Businessman Andrew Yang talked about employment opportunities for people with disabilities at a town hall earlier this week. While saying “much more” needs to done to ensure people with disabilities have access to opportunities and jobs, he also repeated a talking point that people with disabilities – and all people – have value regardless if they are working. 

“Do we need to put much more in the way of resources to help people actually see the abilities of people who have different capacities and then have them enjoy that kind of independence and work? 100% yes,” Yang, who has a child on the autism spectrum, said at a town hall in Ames, Iowa. “But does that need to be the standard that people are at in order to live a good fulfilling happy life? No. It’s like — we should be investing in everyone’s happiness and fulfillment regardless of whether or not they can slot into a corporate role.”

Klobuchar Talks Education and Housing for People with Disabilities

Perry, Iowa, Jan. 18 – Sen. Amy Klobuchar said voters with disabilities contribute to elections “in a big way.”

Answering questions at a town hall in Perry, Iowa earlier this week, Klobuchar talked about the importance of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), which covers educational funding for children with disabilities from birth through high school graduation or age 21, whichever comes first. IDEA has yet to be fully funded by the federal government since it was first passed in 1975. “My mom was a teacher, so I get this,” she added. 

Buttigieg Calls for Equal Voting Access – And Funding – for Voters with Disabilities

Des Moines, Iowa, Jan. 17 – Mayor Pete Buttigieg called for equal voting access for people with disabilities at a town hall in Des Moines earlier this week. He also said it is important to ensure funding for the equal access. 

“Part of our plan on disabilities is to make sure that we’re supporting ways for people with disabilities to have equal access to the vote, because you know, that’s 1 in 4 Americans,” the presidential hopeful said in response to a question about voters with disabilities – asked by a voter on the autism spectrum. “And those who don’t face disabilities might in the future, so we all have a stake in doing something about it… And we need to put funding behind it.”

Klobuchar Completes Disability Candidate Questionnaire

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

headshot of Amy Klobuchar smiling
Amy Klobuchar

Des Moines, Iowa, Jan. 14 – Presidential candidate Sen. Amy Klobuchar 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 all of the major presidential 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 Klobuchar’s responses follows:

1. What policies and actions do you support to reduce the stigmas of people with disabilities that are barriers to employment, independence and equality?

Senator Klobuchar believes we must do more to combat the stigma of Americans with disabilities and advance their rights and full participation in society. As President, Senator Klobuchar will prioritize strong enforcement of civil rights legislation, such as the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Rehabilitation Act, the Olmstead decision, the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, and other laws that protect the rights of people with disabilities.  She will support full funding and staffing for the various Offices of Civil Rights and the Department of Justice’s Disability Rights Section offices to ensure disability cases are fully investigated.

Senator Klobuchar is also committed to promoting financial stability and security for people with disabilities. As President, she will work to pass the Raise the Wage Act — which she co-sponsors in the Senate — to raise the federal minimum wage to $15 for all workers and guarantee that all workers are paid at least the federal minimum wage by eliminating the subminimum wage for workers with disabilities. She is also committed to expanding and improving employment training programs for Americans with disabilities. She helped pass the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act in 2014, which strengthened workforce training and employment opportunities for people with disabilities. As President, she will oppose attempts to weaken the definition of competitive integrated employment. She will also expand the Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration, which provides funds and administers grant programs that offer training and employment assistance to people with disabilities.

In addition, Senator Klobuchar will expand tax credits — including the Work Opportunity Tax Credit, Disability Access Expenditures Tax Credit, and Architectural and Transportation Barrier Tax Credit — for employers who hire individuals with disabilities and make workplaces more accessible to those employees, and she will also support inclusion training programs for employers to address discrimination in the workplace. 

In the Senate, Senator Klobuchar has championed policies to ensure that people who want to stay in their homes and communities can do so. She is a co-sponsor of the Disability Integration Act of 2019 and as President she will push to pass this legislation and address institutional bias in Medicaid to expand access to home and community-based services for people with disabilities. She will also promote remote monitoring technology and telehealth services in Medicare and other programs that improve the quality of life and expand access to quality home care and emergency hospital services in rural areas. Read more about Senator Klobuchar’s plan to protect equal rights and provide opportunity for people with disabilities here.

Buttigieg Completes Disability Candidate Questionnaire

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

close-up of pete buttigieg's face
Pete Buttigieg

Des Moines, Iowa, Jan. 12 – Presidential candidate Mayor Pete Buttigieg 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 all of the major presidential 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 Buttigieg’s responses follows:

1. What policies and actions do you support to reduce the stigmas of people with disabilities that are barriers to employment, independence and equality?

As President, I will strive to build a culture of belonging for everyone. We need both a massive shift in federal policies and a more inclusive and welcoming society to break down barriers to employment, dignity, independence, and inequality for people with disabilities. I will retrofit our government so it works for, and not against, people with disabilities. I will use the office of the presidency—and all the levers of government available to me—to tirelessly advocate for people with disabilities, so they no longer have to do it on their own.

People with disabilities should have every opportunity to live the life of their choosing, and that includes having a fulfilling, well-paying job and career options to achieve community integration. Yet today, only three in ten Americans with disabilities are employed, compared to about seven in ten people without disabilities. For Black Americans with disabilities, the employment rate is less than two in ten.

That’s why I am committed to dramatically increasing opportunities for competitive integrated employment. Embracing Senator Tom Harkin’s goal, my administration will work on a national campaign to double labor force participation for people with disabilities by 2030, the 40th anniversary of the ADA, with a focus on closing racial inequities. This will require support from different federal agencies, states, and stakeholders across the private and social sectors. Together, I believe we can dramatically reduce the stigmas of people with disabilities by committing to bold goals, shifting federal policies, and creating a culture of belonging for everyone.

Sanders Completes Disability Candidate Questionnaire

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

close-up of Bernie Sanders smiling while wearing a suit and a tie
Bernie Sanders

Des Moines, Iowa, Jan. 11 – Presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders 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 all of the major presidential 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 Sanders’ responses follows:

1. What policies and actions do you support to reduce the stigmas of people with disabilities that are barriers to employment, independence and equality?

We recently celebrated the 29th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Despite the progress we’ve made, we unfortunately still live in a world where people with disabilities have fewer work opportunities and where the civil rights of people with disabilities are not always protected and respected. We must recommit to championing the rights of people with disabilities. As a nation, we have a moral responsibility to ensure that all people with disabilities have their rights protected.

We must guarantee people with disabilities the right to live in the community; truly integrated employment that pays a living wage; affordable, accessible housing; and the right to health care, including mental health care and home and community based services and supports.

Every person with a disability deserves the right to live in the community and have the services and supports they need to pursue the American Dream. This right must be available to all, free of waiting lists and means tests. It is our moral responsibility to make it happen.

When Bernie is in the White House he is committed to having an administration that looks like America to help show every person in America that not only do they belong in the White House that the White House needs them, their experience, knowledge, and advocacy in order to create an America that works for everyone.

As President, Bernie will create a National Office of Disability Coordination focused on coordinating disability policy making to advance the full inclusion of people with disabilities, including ensuring every aspect of our public resources are ADA compliant and that the civil rights of people with disabilities are enforced. This office will be run by a person with a disability.

Personal, Professional Efforts Spur Klobuchar’s Disability Plan

Cedar Rapids, Jan. 10 – Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar became the latest Democratic presidential candidate to release a detailed disability policy plan. Unlike other candidates, the senator also held a live event where she detailed her plan and held a panel discussion with three local disability experts, delving deeper into specific aspects of her plan. In a press statement released prior to the disability-focused event in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Klobuchar cited her “a strong track record of standing up for people with disabilities.” Key highlights of the plan include commitments around long-term care, expanding healthcare access, and advancing economic opportunities as well as promoting disability rights at home and abroad.

four individuals, one being Sen. Amy Klobuchar, seated on a stage, while other people are in the audience
Sen. Amy Klobuchar hosts a panel discussion on disability rights in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

Klobuchar’s plan includes a reference to her personal and professional efforts on disability issues. A key accomplishment of her time in the Senate was the passage of the Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act. The ABLE Act has been a pathway for improved financial security for thousands of people with disabilities and their families. Likewise, Klobuchar cited her past service on the advisory board of the PACER Center. PACER “provides individual assistance, workshops, publications, and other resources to help families” and youth with disabilities.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s Plan for People with Disabilities: “Economic Security, Equal Opportunity, and Inclusion”

Massachusetts Senator and presidential candidate completes RespectAbility Candidate Questionnaire

Washington, D.C., Jan. 7 – Posted last week on her website, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s campaign has released a comprehensive statement on disability policy covering critical issues such as employment, health care, education, technology and the social safety net. Subsequently, the campaign completed the 2020 Disability Voter Questionnaire by the disability advocacy group RespectAbility.

Her responses to questionnaire reflect technical expertise drawn directly from diverse leaders in the disability community. 

“People with disabilities are still fighting for economic security, equal opportunity, and inclusion – and they are not fighting alone,” Warren said. “As president, I will work in partnership with the disability community to combat ableism.” 

Further, she aligns her campaign commitments to the “the four goals of the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act): equal opportunity, full participation, independent living, and economic self-sufficiency.” Establishing a new “National Office of Disability Coordination to ensure that federal programs work together to support people with disabilities” is one way she intends to keep her promises if elected. 

Warren Completes Disability Candidate Questionnaire

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

Elizabeth Warren smiling wearing a blue suit
Elizabeth Warren

Des Moines, Iowa, Jan. 7– Presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren 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 all of the major presidential 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 Warren’s responses follows:

1. What policies and actions do you support to reduce the stigmas of people with disabilities that are barriers to employment, independence and equality?

This year marks the 30th anniversary of the ADA, and the 100th anniversary of the Vocational Rehabilitation program. Though we have made significant progress for the 61 million Americans living with disabilities, we have a lot of ground left to cover. People with disabilities are still fighting for economic security, equal opportunity, and inclusion – and they are not fighting alone. As president, I will work in partnership with the disability community to combat ableism. I will fight alongside them for justice across all aspects of life and to fulfill the four goals of the ADA: equal opportunity, full participation, independent living, and economic self sufficiency. I’ll start by making clear that disability is a priority in my administration, creating a National Office of Disability Coordination to ensure that federal programs work together to support people with disabilities. 

Building economic security for people with disabilities means rewriting the rules of the economy to foster inclusivity, value their labor, and end labor market discrimination and exploitation. As president, I’ll fight for economic security for individuals with disabilities by supporting opportunities to participate fully in the economy at a fair wage and to ensure financial security for all. My administration will also support children with disabilities and their families by providing crucial early interventions and ensuring meaningful access to education. When children with disabilities are supported and included, they can excel. But right now, we are failing on our country’s promise to give them a great education. My administration will invest in providing a meaningful, free and appropriate public education to students with disabilities by fully funding IDEA and will tackle discriminatory policies and practices in education head-on.  

Experts have sounded the alarm about the potential for artificial intelligence and algorithms to discriminate against individuals with disabilities across a variety of areas, including automated job screenings and housing. As president, I’ll create a taskforce that works across relevant federal agencies to promote enforcement of existing anti-discrimination laws, new regulations that specifically address discrimination in current and emerging technology, and guidance to the industry to promote compliance. My administration will ensure that technology is used to advance the interests of people with disabilities.  

Systemic failures to consider and include people with disabilities have resulted in unconscionable limitations on their freedom to participate in our society and barriers to housing, transportation, and health care. As President, I’ll protect the rights and civil liberties of people with disabilities in areas like voting, criminal justice, and parental custody. My administration will also fight for affordable, accessible, and green housing, accessible public transportation, and environmental justice. We’ll ensure consistent access to affordable, high quality health care, and lead the fight for disability rights around the world. Read more about my plan here: https://elizabethwarren.com/plans/disability-rights