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Candidates Who Support Opportunities for People with Disabilities Won Big

Election 2018: Candidates who support opportunities for people with disabilities win big. RespectAbility logo. image of American flag with disability symbol (wheelchair) instead of starsWashington, 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 whom are eligible voters (one-sixth of the electorate). 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. Voters are 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.

“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.

Several candidates responded earlier during the campaign season to 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. Candidates from both sides of the aisle completed the questionnaire, showing that disability rights is a bipartisan issue. The responses also are geographically-diverse, coming from states around the country, as politicians are paying more attention to the disability community. RespectAbility is nonpartisan and does not endorse candidates. The questionnaire is purely for educational purposes.

Others submitted proclamations for National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) to RespectAbility. This year, people with disabilities and employers have clear reason to celebrate. More than 343,000 Americans with disabilities got new jobs last year, a fourfold improvement in job gains compared to the previous year. Expanding employment opportunities is bipartisan, as both Democrats and Republicans are quick to recognize the abilities of what people with disabilities can accomplish.

“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.”

Of those who responded to the national questionnaire or provided NDEAM proclamations, 20 candidates have won their election. These include Gov. Greg Abbott (R-TX), Gov. Kate Brown (D-OR), Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-NY), Gov. Doug Ducey (R-AZ), Gov. Larry Hogan (R-MD), Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R-AR), Gov. David Ige (D-HI), Gov. Kay Ivey (R-AL), State Sen. Laura Kelly (D-KS), Gov. Henry McMaster (R-SC), Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO), Businessman J.B. Pritzker (D-IL), Clark County Commission Chair Steve Sisolak (D-NV), Gov. Chris Sununu (R-NH) and Gov. Tom Wolf (D-PA), all of whom won races for governor; Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD), Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA), Rep. Jacky Rosen (D-NV) and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), who won their senate races.

Please follow the links in the tables below to read more about each of these candidates’ disability policies that affect 56 million Americans.

Gubernatorial Races

Name State Link
Kay Ivey Alabama http://therespectabilityreport.org/2018/11/07/ivey-wins/
Asa Hutchinson Arkansas http://therespectabilityreport.org/2018/11/07/hutchinson-wins/
Doug Ducey Arizona http://therespectabilityreport.org/2018/11/07/ducey-wins/
Jared Polis Colorado http://therespectabilityreport.org/2018/11/06/polis-wins/
David Ige Hawaii http://therespectabilityreport.org/2018/11/07/ige-wins/
JB Pritzker Illinois http://therespectabilityreport.org/2018/11/06/pritzker-wins/
Laura Kelly Kansas http://therespectabilityreport.org/2018/11/06/kelly-wins/
Larry Hogan Maryland http://therespectabilityreport.org/2018/11/07/hogan-wins/
Chris Sununu New Hampshire http://therespectabilityreport.org/2018/11/07/sununu-wins/
Andrew Cuomo New York http://therespectabilityreport.org/2018/11/08/cuomo-wins/
Steve Sisolak Nevada http://therespectabilityreport.org/2018/11/07/sisolak-wins/
Kate Brown Oregon http://therespectabilityreport.org/2018/11/08/kate-brown/
Tom Wolf Pennsylvania http://therespectabilityreport.org/2018/11/07/wolf-wins/
Henry McMaster South Carolina http://therespectabilityreport.org/2018/11/07/mcmaster-wins/
Greg Abbott Texas http://therespectabilityreport.org/2018/11/07/abbott-wins/

Senate Races

Name State Link
Elizabeth Warren Massachusetts http://therespectabilityreport.org/2018/11/06/warren-wins/
Ben Cardin Maryland http://therespectabilityreport.org/2018/11/06/cardin-wins/
Jacky Rosen Nevada http://therespectabilityreport.org/2018/11/07/rosen-wins/
Sherrod Brown Ohio http://therespectabilityreport.org/2018/11/06/brown-wins/
Bob Casey Pennsylvania http://therespectabilityreport.org/2018/11/06/casey-wins/

Also in New York, several candidates who responded to RespectAbility’s New York City candidate questionnaire won their races:

Meet the Author

Lauren Appelbaum

Lauren Appelbaum is the VP, Communications and Entertainment & News Media, of RespectAbility, a nonprofit organization fighting stigmas and advancing opportunities so all people with disabilities can fully participate in every aspect of community. As an individual with an acquired nonvisible disability – Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy – she works at the intersection of disability, employment, Hollywood and politics. She regularly conducts trainings on the why and how to be more inclusive and accessible for entertainment executives throughout the industry. Appelbaum partners with studios, production companies and writers’ rooms to create equitable and accessible opportunities to increase the number of people with lived disability experience throughout the overall story-telling process. These initiatives increase diverse and authentic representation of disabled people on screen, leading to systemic change in how society views and values people with disabilities. She has consulted on more than 100 TV episodes and films with A&E, Bunim-Murray Productions, NBCUniversal, Netflix, ViacomCBS, and The Walt Disney Company, among others. She represents RespectAbility on the CAA Full Story Initiative Advisory Council, Disney+ Content Advisory Council, MTV Entertainment Group Culture Code and Sundance Institute’s Allied Organization Initiative. She is the author of The Hollywood Disability Inclusion Toolkit and the creator of an innovative Lab Program for entertainment professionals with disabilities working in development, production and post-production. She is a recipient of the 2020 Roddenberry Foundation Impact Award for this Lab. To reach her, email LaurenA@RespectAbility.org.

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