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Candidates Detail Disability Policy Positions

Washington, Nov. 4 – A new poll shows that voters are more likely to support candidates who prioritize education, employment and disability policies. So while it’s easy to get stuck in the horse race, readers and viewers are looking for coverage about these important issues. That’s even more true for the 56 million people with disabilities (one in five Americans), more than 35 million of whom are eligible voters (one-sixth of the electorate).

So RespectAbility, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization working to end stigmas and advance opportunities for people with disabilities founded in 2013, asked candidates for president, governor and U.S. Senate 17 questions ranging from topics of employment and housing to education, healthcare and more.

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Poll Shows Addressing Disability Issues is a Winning Campaign Strategy

NEW bipartisan poll of likely voters presented by top pollsters, Democratic pollster Stan Greenberg, Ph.D., of Quinlan Rosner Research and Republican Pollster Whit Ayes, Ph.D., of Northstar Opinion.

Download the slide presentation (accessible PPT or PDF).

A pie chart describing the percentage of people who either have a disability connection or do not have a disability connection. 16 perent of people have disabilties. 33 percent of peoople have family members with disabilities. 10 percent of people have close friends with disabilities. 49 percent of people do not have a disability connection.

51% of likely voters say they personally, a family member, and/or a close friend has a disability 

Washington, DC. – A survey of 900 likely 2016 voters finds that by an overwhelming majority, voters are more likely to support a candidate who prioritizes a series of policies to advance opportunities for people with disabilities. More than 8 out of 10 voters are more likely to support a candidate who prioritizes “ensuring that children with disabilities get the education and training they need to succeed;” 61 percent are much more likely to support the candidate.

Only 65 percent of youth with disabilities graduate high school, 19 percent less than students without disabilities, a White House study found earlier this month. Youth who do not graduate high school are more likely to be involved in the criminal justice system and have a more difficult time entering the workforce.

Similarly, 84 percent are more likely to support a candidate who prioritizes “expanding job opportunities for people with disabilities, so they can succeed just like anyone else;” 59 percent are much more likely to do so.

Only one in three working-age Americans with a disability has a job, despite the fact that studies show that 70 percent of the 21-million working-age people with disabilities are striving for work. More than 78 percent of non-disabled Americans are employed.

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Unveiling new state voter guides …

Washington, Oct. 27 – While the presidential election has taken up much of the news cycle, attention also is shifting to who will control the Senate. As such, RespectAbility has reached out to candidates running for Senate as well as Governor in the 2016 elections with the #PwDsVote Disability Campaign Questionnaire for Senate and Gubernatorial Candidates for people with disabilities.

RespectAbility, founded in 2013, is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization working to end stigmas and advance opportunities for people with disabilities. Utilizing candidate responses to both the down ballot and presidential campaign questionnaires, RespectAbility has released 51 state voter guides.

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The Importance of Down Ballot Elections for Disability Rights

Washington, Oct. 21 – While the presidential election has taken up much of the news cycle, attention also is shifting to who will control the Senate. As such, RespectAbility has reached out to candidates running for Senate as well as Governor in the 2016 elections with the #PwDsVote Disability Campaign Questionnaire  for Senate and Gubernatorial Candidates for people with disabilities.

Twenty-six candidates for Senate, as well as 11 candidates for governor, from both sides of the aisle(22 Democrats, 14 Republicans, 1 Green Party) have responded so far, showing that disability rights is a nonpartisan issue. An additional nine candidates responded that they are not completing any questionnaires during this campaign season. The responses also are geographically-diverse, coming from states all around the country, as politicians are paying more and more attention to the disability community.

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Where Do Candidates Stand on Sexual Assault and Rape?

Washington, Oct. 14 – Given the news cycle, talk about sexual assault and rape has increased.

It’s important to note that children with disabilities are three times more likely to be victims of rape or sexual assault than children without disabilities. Victims of assault are more likely to commit crimes. Every nine minutes an adult with a disability is sexually assaulted or raped.

As part of the #PwDsVote Disability Questionnaire,the nonpartisan nonprofit disability organization RespectAbility asked candidates running for Senate or Governor about their plans to address these issues. While many had plans regarding rape and sexual assault, several had specific plans for rape and sexual assault of people with disabilities. Every candidate was given an equal opportunity to address these issues and if they are not listed, it is because they declined to answer.

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Your Help is Needed on Disability Campaign Questionnaire!

With just 39 days until Election Day, we need your help. RespectAbility is calling on all candidates for governor or Senate to complete the #PwDsVote Senate & Gubernatorial Disability Questionnaire. “PwDs” stands for “people with disabilities.” So far, Hillary Clinton and 30 candidates for Senate or Governor from both parties have done so.

Now we’re calling on you to help to encourage the remainder. A number of candidates, including Mr. Trump, have yet to fill out a nonpartisan candidate questionnaire on issues vital to America’s 56 million citizens with disabilities!

The down-ballot responses received so far are from candidates on both sides of the aisle – with 18 from Democrats and 12 from Republicans, demonstrating how disability rights is a nonpartisan issue.

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Another Person of Color with a Disability Shot Dead by Police

head shot of Alfred Olango

Alfred Olango

Alfred Olango, a Ugandan refugee, had mental health disability

Washington, Sept. 29 – It’s happened before and unfortunately will most likely happen again soon if nothing is done. The increasing number of people of color with disabilities being killed by police is unacceptable.

In the latest case, Alfred Olango, an African American man with mental health differences, was shot and killed by a police officer in San Diego, CA.

“Why couldn’t you tase him? I told you he is sick – and you guys shot him!” Olango’s sister is heard in a video recorded by a bystander who posted the video on Facebook. “I called police to help him, not to kill him.”

His sister called police saying he was acting strangely and not himself, informing them of his disability.

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Season Finale of Diverse and Fabulous Emmy-Winner #BornThisWay Airs Tonight

A&E Renews Series for Third Season

Text: The Emmy-Award winning series returns: Born This Way with images of the castWashington, Sept. 27 – Following its Emmy win for outstanding unstructured reality show, Born This Way has been renewed by A&E for a third season. This is the first time a series starring a cast with disabilities has won an Emmy Award.

Produced by Bunim/Murray Productions, Born This Way, an unscripted reality show on A&E, follows the lives of seven young adults with Down syndrome along with their family and friends in Southern California. Because its focus is on showing their everyday lives, including employment, efforts for independent housing, loves and more, Born this Way breaks down stigmas surrounding disability.

Show creator and Executive Producer Jonathan Murray, the innovator behind the first-ever reality-show, The Real World, and many other hit shows including Keeping Up with the Kardashians, credits the show’s positive message and groundbreaking vision of diversity on screen with the show’s success.

“In thinking about the show, we wanted to focus on the ability within the disability and I think that is what is exciting to see,” said Murray. “We are also very proud of the fact that our cast is very diverse. Born This Way is not only the first show to win an Emmy that stars people with disabilities – it also has a cast that includes people who are African AmericanHispanic and Asian. This is a breakthrough for those minority communities as well.”

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Presidential Debate: Will the candidates address the slaughter of people with disabilities in America?

Washington, Sept. 26 – Tonight’s presidential debate will cover three topics, each to be discussed for two 15-minute segments: “America’s Direction,” “Achieving Prosperity” and “Securing America.” As the New York Times explains, “these topics cover a lot of ground and could refer to anything: the economy, national security, domestic policy or the environment, to name just a few.”

The very flexible nature of these topics will allow debate moderator Lester Holt of NBC News to ask about current events and recent topics of conversation. One such topic is the increasing amount of people of color with disabilities being killed by police.

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