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Political Candidates Highlight Disability Issues

Cartoon of two people with disabilities in front of voting booths. Text: Disability Issues Candidate Questionnaire

Washington, D.C., Oct. 27 – As voters head to the polls, candidates for U.S. Senate and governor, as well as local candidates in New York City and Los Angeles, have outlined their views on ensuring equal employment opportunities for the one-in-five Americans with a disability by responding to a questionnaire by the disabilities advocacy group RespectAbility.

Candidates from all sides of the aisle completed the questionnaire, showing that disability rights is a nonpartisan issue. The responses also are geographically-diverse, coming from states around the country, as politicians are paying more attention to the disability community.

“Our nation was founded on the principle that anyone who works hard should be able to get ahead in life,” said RespectAbility’s President, Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi. “People with disabilities deserve equal opportunity to earn an income and achieve independence just like anyone else.”

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. “People with disabilities deserve equal opportunity to earn an income and achieve independence just like anyone else.”

RespectAbility is nonpartisan and does not endorse candidates. The questionnaire is purely for educational purposes.

Below are links to detailed answers to the questionnaire. Every major party candidate for senate and governor was given an equal opportunity to address these issues and if they are not listed, it is because they declined to answer. Is your state’s candidate missing? There’s still time for him or her to respond and be included! Check out this linked Excel list for candidates’ contact information so you can call, email or tweet them encouraging them to complete the questionnaire!

State Gubernatorial Candidate View Full Answers
Alabama Walter Maddox therespectabilityreport.org/2018/10/25/alabama-maddox
Alaska Bill Walker (dropped out of race) therespectabilityreport.org/2018/10/17/bill-walker
Colorado Jared Polis therespectabilityreport.org/2018/10/25/colorado-polis
Florida Andrew Gillum therespectabilityreport.org/2018/10/25/florida-gillum
Hawaii David Ige therespectabilityreport.org/2018/10/17/david-ige
Hawaii Andria Tupola therespectabilityreport.org/2018/10/08/andria-tupola
Illinois JB Pritzker therespectabilityreport.org/2018/10/25/illinois-pritzker
Iowa Fred Hubbell therespectabilityreport.org/2018/10/25/iowa-hubbell
Kansas Laura Kelly therespectabilityreport.org/2018/10/25/kansas-kelly
Michigan Bill Schuette therespectabilityreport.org/2018/10/25/michigan-schuette  ‎
Nevada Steve Sisolak therespectabilityreport.org/2018/10/04/steve-sisolak-nevada
State Senate Candidate View Full Answers
Delaware Robert Arlett therespectabilityreport.org/2018/10/25/delaware-arlett
Hawaii Ron Curtis therespectabilityreport.org/2018/10/17/ron-curtis
Maryland Ben Cardin therespectabilityreport.org/2018/10/25/maryland-cardin
Massachusetts Elizabeth Warren therespectabilityreport.org/2018/10/25/massachusetts-warren  ‎
Nevada Dean Heller therespectabilityreport.org/2018/10/17/dean-heller
Nevada Jacky Rosen therespectabilityreport.org/2018/10/08/jacky-rosen
North Dakota Heidi Heitkamp therespectabilityreport.org/2018/10/25/north-dakota-heitkamp
Ohio Sherrod Brown therespectabilityreport.org/2018/10/25/ohio-brown
Pennsylvania Bob Casey therespectabilityreport.org/2018/10/25/pennsylvania-casey  ‎

Candidates running for local office in Los Angeles and New York City also responded to a local candidate questionnaire. View their responses as well:

New York City candidates: therespectabilityreport.org/2018/10/26/nyc-candidates

Los Angeles area candidates: therespectabilityreport.org/2018/10/26/la-candidates

Media Contact:
Lauren Appelbaum
laurena@respectability.org

Meet the Author

Lauren Appelbaum
Lauren Appelbaum

Lauren Appelbaum is the communications director of RespectAbility, a nonprofit organization fighting stigmas and advancing opportunities for people with disabilities, and managing editor of The RespectAbility Report, a publication at the intersection of disability and politics. Previously she was a digital researcher with the NBC News political unit. Appelbaum currently oversees RespectAbility’s outreach to Hollywood to stand up against ableism and other prejudice – while promoting positive, accurate, diverse and inclusive media portrayals on TV and in film. To reach her, email LaurenA@RespectAbility.org.

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