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The RespectAbility Report Posts

RespectAbility Releases 2020 Disability Voter Candidate Questionnaire

RespectAbility, a nonpartisan national nonprofit organization fighting stigmas and advancing opportunities so people with disabilities can fully participate in all aspects of community, has sent its nonpartisan voter questionnaire to of all the viable presidential candidates on a variety of disability issues. The outreach is being done in conjunction with…

Disability Employment Highlighted at Democratic Primary Debate

Los Angeles, Dec. 19 – For the first time this political season, a debate moderator, Politico’s Tim Alberta, asked a question specifically on disability policy – giving the example of Kyle, a young adult with disabilities in Iowa: “Are there specific steps you would take to help people like Kyle to become more integrated into the workforce and into their local communities?”

Out of more than 20 million working-age people with disabilities, just 7.5 million have jobs, while 70 percent would prefer to be employed. This data also shows the serious gaps that remain between disabled and non-disabled Americans: 37 percent of U.S. civilians with disabilities ages 18-64 living in the community had a job, compared to 77.2 percent for people without disabilities. 

Just three candidates were given the opportunity to respond – businessmen Tom Steyer and Andrew Yang, and Sen. Elizabeth Warren. Sen. Amy Klobuchar – and potentially others off camera – also tried to answer but the moderators moved on to another topic.

Presidential Candidates’ Website Accessibility Improves but More Work Still Needed

Four Candidates – Biden, Booker, Castro and Yang – Have “Mostly Accessible” Websites

Washington, D.C., Dec. 19 – Nearly six months after a report by the Miami Lighthouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired found that all of the presidential candidates’ websites block democratic access to voters who are blind or have low vision, an update finds that still none of these websites – Democrat or Republican – are fully accessible. However, the Miami Lighthouse for the Blind found that many of the candidates’ websites do show improvements in accessibility.

The organization issued a challenge for the candidates in June: “ensure their websites are fully ADA compliant and immediately put an accessibility statement on their page.” Since then, both Entrepreneur Andrew Yang and Vice President Joe Biden’s have been deemed “mostly accessible” and are the only candidates who have qualified for the December debate to have scored higher than a 3.00 out of 4.00. 

Examining Presidential Hopeful Michael Bloomberg’s Campaign Accessibility

Washington, D.C., Dec. 19 – Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has officially announced that he is running for president in the democratic primary. But how is his campaign doing on including people with disabilities?

Michael Bloomberg

For a presidential campaign to be fully inclusive of people with disabilities, it needs to meet the following requirements, at a minimum: (1) offer captioning with every video it shares or produces, (2) mention people with disabilities and their issues, (3) depict people with visible disabilities in its media, (4) reach out to and fully include the disability community, and (5) provide accessible campaign events, social media, documents and website. Bloomberg’s campaign has room for improvement, but there are some positive signs that the campaign is trying to be inclusive.

Prioritizing Disability Employment in the Democratic Primary

Los Angeles, Dec. 17 – As seven presidential candidates get ready for the sixth Democratic debate on Thursday, The RespectAbility Report, an online publication focused on the intersection of politics and disability, has put together a comparison of the candidate’s positions on the employment of people with disabilities. The seven candidates who qualified for the debate are: Vice President Joe Biden, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, Sen. Bernie Sanders, businessman Tom Steyer, Sen. Elizabeth Warren and businessman Andrew Yang.

Of these candidates, five of them have a disability policy plan on their campaign website: Vice President BidenMayor ButtigiegSen. WarrenSen. Sanders and Yang. However, only Mayor Buttigieg and Sen. Warren’s plans address disability employment specifically and concretely.

“Policy is Personal” Says Senator Elizabeth Warren in New Disability Rights Plan

Washington, D.C., Dec. 2 – Under the banner headline of “Fighting for an Accessible and Inclusive America,” Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren pledges she “will always fight for the full inclusion of people with disabilities.” The presidential candidate’s thorough plan to address disability rights highlights both her record of advocacy in areas such as employment and education while also pledging major actions on health care and inclusion. Her disability rights plan concludes by making it clear that this “policy is personal.” 

Mayor Buttigieg Prioritizes Mental Health and Suicide Prevention at Disability Forum

Noting High Intersection Between Disability and LGBTQ+ Communities, Buttigieg Addresses Bullying Epidemic

Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Nov. 26 – The 2020 Democratic Presidential Primary is heating up, and in recent polls, Mayor Pete Buttigieg has been surging in Iowa. Earlier this month, he released a comprehensive plan for the disability community and rolled it out at a Democratic Party Candidate Forum, Accessibility for All, on disability issues in Cedar Rapids. This forum was the first time in the 2020 campaign cycle that disability issues were the main topic of discussion.

As a veteran, he placed a particular emphasis on mental health and suicide prevention, saying that “the place we need to get to as a country is where it is as routine to talk about and act on mental health issues as we would a physical challenge.” Mental health is the most common disability that people in America have, so Mayor Buttigieg’s emphasis on it was notable.

Seven Democratic Campaigns Prioritize Disability Issues in Accessibility for All Forum

Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Nov. 24 – Earlier this month, seven presidential campaigns made history together as they participated in a Democratic Party forum, Accessibility for All, focused on issues affecting people with disabilities. This is the first time this campaign season that a forum was held specifically on this topic.…

8 Democratic Campaigns Participate in Forum Focused on People with Disabilities and Health Care

Washington, D.C., Nov. 1 – Tomorrow in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, eight campaigns are set to participate in a history-making Accessibility, Inclusion, and Outreach Conference focused specifically on issues that affect people with disabilities. This is important, as while recent polling suggests that voters with disabilities themselves are more enthusiastic about participating in the 2020 elections than the nation at large, none of the campaigns are yet fully accessible to the disability community.

“It is vital for the democratic process to be open to all people and all means all – including people with disabilities,” said Lauren Appelbaum, vice president, communications of RespectAbility. “The majority of voters have a friend or family member with a disability or have a disability themselves. It is truly exciting that eight campaigns will be focusing their attention on addressing the 1-in-5 people living in America with a disability.”

Seven of the Democratic candidates will participate themselves. They are:

  • Sen. Cory Booker 
  • Mayor Pete Buttigieg
  • Rep. John Delaney
  • Sen. Amy Klobuchar
  • Rep. Beto O’Rourke
  • Sen. Bernie Sanders
  • Mr. Andrew Yang 

Additionally, former Sen. Chris Dodd will speak on behalf of Vice President Joe Biden.

According to “Accessibility For All Now,” the organizers of the Forum, candidates will answer questions posed by people with disabilities and members of the Linn County Medical Society, which is co-hosting the forum. 

Sen. Booker Calls Disability Rights “An Important Issue”

Washington, D.C., Oct. 24 – At a presidential campaign fundraiser on Capitol Hill last night, Sen. Cory Booker said disability rights is “an important issue.” Speaking to members of The RespectAbility Report, he stated he has and is going to have a lot of policies relating to disability rights coming out.

“We have more to do to ensure equality for Americans with disabilities who still face high poverty rates & barriers to health care & quality of life,” Cory Booker tweeted in commemoration of the 29th anniversary of the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) this summer. “As president, I’ll fight for equal rights & inclusion for people with disabilities.”

Buttigieg Stresses Importance of Including Disability Community in Policy Decisions

Washington, D.C., Oct. 12 – When presidential candidates include senior staff and advisors with disabilities, with the same effort as other marginalized populations, they are exposed to a variety of thoughts and ideas. Mayor Pete Buttigieg proved that during a recent interview with The New Republic when he noted the…

Klobuchar’s Plan for Veterans Includes Focus on Mental Health and Other Disabilities

Washington, D.C., Oct. 8 – Presidential hopeful Sen. Amy Klobuchar’s new plan for veterans pays specific attention to veterans with disabilities, highlighting “inadequate mental health and addiction services.” According to the U.S. Census, 3.8 million veterans have a service-connected disability, which is a result of a disease or injury incurred…

Buttigieg Calls For Full Funding of IDEA, Equipping Teachers with Resources to Support Students with Disabilities

Washington, D.C., Sept. 19 – Mayor Pete Buttigieg (D) may not have a long legislative record for voters to examine on various issues but he showed his knowledge of legislation regarding education for children with disabilities during an interview with the progressive organization Supermajority Tuesday. 

Responding to a question from the mother of an 18-year-old student with autism, Buttigieg called for more attention to be paid to IEPs [individualized education plans] and for full funding of IDEA – the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, which has yet to be fully funded since it was first passed in 1975. IDEA covers kids from birth through high school graduation or age 21, whichever comes first. Autistic students who need special education to make progress in school are supposed to be covered by IDEA. 

Presidential Candidates Discriminate Against Voters with Disabilities

Four Candidates – Biden, Booker, Warren, Yang – Have Made Substantial Improvements in Website Accessibility Washington, D.C., Sept. 12 – Nearly three months after a report by the Miami Lighthouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired found that all of the presidential candidates’ websites block democratic access to voters who are blind…

Harris Calls for Empowering “Ignored” Communities, Stresses Environmental Justice, During CNN Climate Town Hall

New York City, Sept. 5 – Sen. Kamala Harris called for environmental justice to empower “ignored” communities during the climate town hall on CNN. Carson Tueller, a man with a spinal cord injury who has thermodysregulation, leaving his body unable to control its own temperature and unable to sweat, asked…

Plastic Straw Ban Becomes Topic of Debate During CNN Climate Town Hall

New York City, Sept. 4 – For more than a year now, disability advocates have admonished the plastic straw ban, because it is clear the policy was enacted without the involvement of people with disabilities, some of whom need plastic straws to survive.  During the CNN Climate Town Hall, Sen. Kamala…

Kamala Harris Aims to Expand Economic Opportunity for Americans with Disabilities

Washington, D.C., August 29 – Presidential hopeful Sen. Kamala Harris is calling for expanded “economic opportunity and security for people with disabilities” in a plan unveiled today. She points out that just one-third of people with disabilities who are working-age are employed, compared to three-quarters of those without disabilities in the same age range.

Sen. Harris’ plan focuses on ways to “eliminate barriers that make it harder for people with disabilities to fully participate in our workforce.” One-in-four adults in the United States today have a disability and just 37 percent of those who are ages 18-64 are employed. This means that out of more than 20 million working-age people with disabilities, just 7.5 million have jobs. 

Her plan includes six parts: