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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. [continue reading…]

Vital Disability Voter 2018 Info

voters in wheelchairs and with a dog votingWashington, D.C., Nov. 6 – Below you will find two up-to-the-minute resources to help you this election:

  1. Straight Q&A’s with candidates on disability issues organized by state. If you do not see a candidate from a senate or gubernatorial race, or local candidates in New York City and Los Angeles, it is because the candidate chose not to answer the questionnaire. RespectAbility is nonpartisan and all candidates were given an equal chance to make voters aware of their views on disability issues.
  2. Apps and information on where to vote, how to vote and who to contact if there is an issue. As voters go to the polls, it is vital to know that voters with disabilities have every right to vote. If you have a problem voting due to lack of access for disability, contact 866-OUR-VOTE, or other resources listed below, immediately. Please let us know as well by emailing LaurenA@RespectAbility.org. View all of this information on one place on our blog: Disability Voter Resource Guide

Now please go vote! The disability community is 56 million citizens strong. Show your power at the ballot box! [continue reading…]

Disability Voter Resource Guide 2018

Washington, D.C., Nov. 5 – As voters head to the polls, many are concerned about various access issues from physical accessibility to voter ID laws. This is a federal election year; additionally, many state legislative seats, state executive offices, local offices and ballot amendments will be voted on. We’ve compiled resources provided by general Election Day voter rights organizations as well as those provided by various disability groups.

See below for apps and information on where to vote, how to vote and who to contact in case there is an issue. Voters with disabilities have every right to vote. If you have a problem voting due to lack of access for disability, contact 866-OUR-VOTE to talk to lawyers on hand to answer Election Day questions and concerns about voting procedures, or other resources listed below, immediately. Please let us know as well by emailing LaurenA@RespectAbility.org. Did we miss an important resource? Share with us and we’ll update this guide. [continue reading…]

Gov. Sununu Confirms Commitment to Jobs for People with Disabilities in New Hampshire

Gov. Christopher Sununu headshot

Gov. Christopher Sununu

Washington, D.C., Oct. 30 – Gov. Christopher Sununu officially has proclaimed October as Disability Employment Awareness Month in New Hampshire.

“People with disabilities bring a diverse array of talent, vision, and skill to their place of work, their communities, and our state,” said Sununu in the proclamation. “With a growing economy, businesses need talented employees to meet their needs and workplaces that welcome the talents of all people, including people with disabilities, and help to create more inclusive workplaces and a stronger economy.”

This proclamation comes after a year of steady job growth. Last year, people with disabilities gained 1,335 jobs in New Hampshire. [continue reading…]

Kentucky Gov. Bevin Affirms Commitment to More Jobs for People with Disabilities

Gov. Matt Bevin headshot

Gov. Matt Bevin

Washington D.C., Oct. 30 – Governor Matt Bevin has declared October as National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) in Kentucky.

“National Disability Employment Awareness Month recognizes the contribution people with disabilities add to our society as well as the value and talent they add to our workplaces,” writes Bevin in his proclamation. “Workplaces, welcoming the talents of…people with disabilities, are a critical part of building an inclusive community and strong economy.”

The Proclamation also highlights other state efforts to support and empower Kentuckians with disabilities. Bevin called attention to the impactful work of Kentucky’s Office of Vocational Rehabilitation that has “played a critical role in serving individuals with significant disabilities since….1910” and the recent work done by the Work Matters Task Force launched in 2016 “to address barriers to employment.”

This proclamation follows a tremendous year of job growth for Kentuckians with disabilities who got 18,349 new jobs. [continue reading…]

Outgoing California Gov. Brown Reflects on the Success of People with Disabilities

Gov. Jerry Brown headshot

Gov. Jerry Brown

Washington, D.C., Oct. 30 – Gov. Jerry Brown has proclaimed October 2018 to be Disability Employment Awareness Month in California.

“For thirty years, the month of October as a time to acknowledge the positive role that people with disabilities have in our workforce and their contributions to the well-being of our state,” writes Brown in the proclamation. “There are an estimated 4 million people in California with a wide spectrum of disabilities. By supporting the employment of these talented workers, organizations are not only contributing to employees’ independence and equality, but also to the financial strength of their company.”

“I call on all Californians to join me in recognizing the importance of their role in our shared future,” he added.

This proclamation followed a tremendous year of job growth for Californians with disabilities. Last year, across the Golden State, 19,398 people with disabilities got new jobs. [continue reading…]

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.” [continue reading…]

Delaware Gov. Carney Makes New Commitments on Jobs for People with Disabilities

Gov. John Carney Headshot

Gov. John Carney

Washington, D.C., Oct. 24 – Gov. John C. Carney has proclaimed October 2018 to be Disability Employment Awareness Month in Delaware.

“People with disabilities bring their own unique strengths to the work environments and deserve an equal opportunity to pursue careers and success,” writes Carney in his proclamation. “Employers throughout our state must continue the important work to create positive and inclusive environments for people with disabilities… The State of Delaware is committed to maintaining a workforce that values inclusion, where all Delawareans, no matter their disability, are seen as contributing members of their workplace.”

This proclamation follows a solid year of job growth which saw 1,691 Delawareans with disabilities found new jobs. [continue reading…]

Gov. Tom Wolf Affirms Continuing Commitment on Jobs for Pennsylvanians with Disabilities

Governor Tom Wolf headshot

Gov. Tom Wolf

Washington, D.C., Oct. 19 – Gov. Tom Wolf has declared October to be Disability Employment Awareness Month in Pennsylvania.

“Workplaces that welcome the talents of all people, including people with disabilities, are a critical part of efforts to build an inclusive community and strong economy.” writes Wolf in his proclamation. “This month will reinforce the value and talent people with disabilities add to our workplace and communities and affirm Pennsylvania’s commitment to be an inclusive community.”

This proclamation comes after a year of steady job growth for people with disabilities. Last year, 6,993 Pennsylvanians with disabilities got new jobs. [continue reading…]

Gov. Andrew Cuomo Affirms Commitment to Jobs for People with Disabilities in New York State

Gov. Andrew Cuomo headshot

Gov. Andrew Cuomo

Washington D.C., Oct. 19 – Gov. Andrew Cuomo has declared October as National Disability Employment Month (NDEM) in New York.

“New York affirms its commitment to promoting diversity in the workplace by highlighting the rich talent and abilities that exist…and promoting inclusive communities that welcome individuals with all types of disabilities,” writes Cuomo. “New York’s government agencies that serve individuals with development and/or intellectual…mental health disabilities have affirmed the state’s commitment to community living by developing implementation plans which include collaboration among many partners that will foster…the creation of more employment options.”

This commitment from the governor comes at a time when jobs for people with disabilities has been increasing in New York state. Last year, 5,081 New Yorkers with disabilities gained jobs. [continue reading…]

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