Key actions and positions posted on the intersection of disability and education, jobs, immigration, climate crisis, criminal justice and more
Sacramento, CA, August 26 – Democratic candidate, mother, teacher, and small business owner Holly Baade has responded to a detailed candidate questionnaire on disability issues. The questionnaire is from RespectAbility, a nonpartisan nonprofit disability organization that does not endorse candidates. The questionnaire is purely for educational purposes. RespectAbility has reached out to candidates in California’s critical gubernatorial recall election. The full text of RespectAbility’s questions and Baade’s responses follows:
EDUCATION & SKILLS: What is your plan to ensure that all students with disabilities, including English Language Learners, receive an appropriate education to acquire critical and marketable skills?
California common core state standards for education actually create and exacerbate the numbers of students with disabilities in our state student population as it is designed with visual and auditory learners in mind and does not include adequate kinesthetic learning methods. The focus on cramming information from memorization and the use of multiple-choice tests limits the numbers of children who can excel is such narrowly-defined grading techniques. In addition to this, there is too much focus on sitting-still and not enough focus on the arts, physical education, music and other culturally and physically strengthening subjects. As the Governor of California, I will set out to change the course of the state curriculum to allow for a greater multi-sensory educational approach and this will inherently and joyfully allow many more students to learn how to learn more easily, as well as include students who have unique learning styles due to any personal disabilities.
EMPLOYMENT & ENTREPRENEURSHIP: If elected, what will you do to advance opportunities for people with disabilities who want to work and earn an income, just like anyone else? How will you support employers, large and small, to recruit and hire workers with disabilities?
The first step to increasing employment among Californians with disabilities, regardless of ethnicity, is to design our society so that it is multi-sensory. So that there is more natural communication features in public pathways and transportation opportunities and communications devices for people of all capacities. For example, there is no reason why we can’t have sidewalks with pathways specifically for the blind that have handrails or dotted lines. The other important step is education and job training transfer. When we look at all people as having value, as providing a special way to see life and to add to our collective good, it is easy to inspire those with disabilities to feel that they can be a part of our communities in a way that earns a good living, brings joy and contributes to our communities in positive, meaningful, constructive ways.
ACCESS & INCLUSION: Whether or not you have a formal platform, what specific plans do you have to incorporate the voices of people with disabilities into your decision-making processes, if elected?
In order to ensure that voices are heard, it is first necessary to begin to listen to the voices that are speaking and to incorporate the insights and ideas that come from people living with disabilities into the creation of solutions. This will be my first step to assist those with disabilities in the state. One way to do this is to create community round tables where people from the community with disabilities are invited to come and discuss their concerns and offer their insightful solutions. Next, it is necessary to give any legislation that comes up for a vote – first to a review committee of those who understand or have disabilities – before it is brought for voting so that the review committee’s perspectives (and voice) can also be heard and put into consideration.
FIGHTING STIGMAS: If elected, what will be your plan to fight stigmas, highlight the disability community, and promote higher expectations for success?
We do not fight anything with a fighting attitude, but rather when a heart that is open and a willingness to include. If I am elected Governor of California, I would seek to improve the lives of those living with disabilities by changing the barriers that prevent them from living a full and happy life.
OTHER KEY ISSUES: What additional policies and priorities, other than those already discussed above, do you plan to focus on to improve the lives of people with disabilities?
Rather than lump people into a label, I think it is important to begin to see people as individuals with unique gifts and capacities. I think the biggest thing that can be done for all people is to have a universal basic income that relieves the stress and anxiety of basic needs being met so that everyone can focus on what encourages their heart to feel welcome and excited to contribute to society, and then focus on education and enabling people to work in ways that bring them fulfillment and a sense of purpose.
Baade is one of many candidates who are competing in California’s special gubernatorial recall election. For a full list of candidates running in the September 14 recall election and to learn more about voting, please visit the California Secretary of State’s 2021 CA Gubernatorial Recall Election website at https://www.sos.ca.gov/elections.
RespectAbility is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that fights stigmas and advances opportunities so people with disabilities can fully participate in all aspects of their communities. RespectAbility does not rate or endorse candidates. View more coverage of California candidates on our website.