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Category: Democrats

Perez Completes Disability Candidate Questionnaire in Maryland Governor’s Race

Key actions and positions posted on the intersection of disability, education, jobs, immigration, climate, criminal justice and more.

Annapolis, MD, January 20 – Democratic gubernatorial candidate, former U.S. Secretary of Labor and former Chair of the Democratic National Committee Tom Perez 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.

One-in-five Americans has a disability, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. People with disabilities are America’s largest minority group. It is also the only one that, due to accident, aging or illness, anyone can join at any time. Indeed, there are over 669,000 people living with some form of disability in Maryland and their votes could be crucial in deciding who succeeds Larry Hogan as Governor of the Old Line State. 

Perez is the fourth candidate in the upcoming Democratic primary to respond to RespectAbility’s candidate questionnaire. The questionnaire is purely for educational purposes. RespectAbility is actively communicating with all candidates in Maryland’s upcoming gubernatorial race.

Maryland Democratic Party Gubernatorial Candidates Fail To Address Disability Issues At Education Forum

Annapolis, MD, January 18 – Earlier this month, seven of the Democratic candidates for Governor of Maryland gathered online for a forum on education issues affecting Marylanders. The event, which was hosted by Maryland Democratic Party Chairwoman Yvette Lewis, was an opportunity where the candidates could have addressed issues for the 98,188 students with disabilities enrolled in Maryland’s K-12 school system. However, disability issues were not specifically discussed and none of the candidates mentioned the word disability during the forum.

Said Philip Kahn-Pauli, who leads candidate outreach for the disability nonprofit RespectAbility, “Sadly, all of the Maryland Democratic candidates for Governor earned an “F” today due to their failure to address the issues that impact students with disabilities.” Of the students with disabilities enrolled in Maryland’s K-12 school system, there are 257 American Indian or Alaska Native students with disabilities, 2,991 Asian students with disabilities, 40,262 Black or African American students with disabilities, 16,203 Hispanic/Latino students with disabilities, 103 Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander students with disabilities, 4,372 Biracial students with disabilities, and 34,000 White students with disabilities. Continued Kahn-Pauli, “Recognizing the barriers and complexities that impact these students is a crucial responsibility for the next governor.”

While the candidates at the Forum did not directly address the disability community, many of the issues discussed have a direct impact on people with disabilities. Former nonprofit executive and federal official Baron called for vaccine requirements for Maryland’s teachers. Former Attorney General Doug Gansler also called for mandatory vaccinations for teachers, but keeping schools open as much as possible. He claimed it was “unfair” for students from poor environments to rely on technology and online school. Former US Secretary of Labor and Former Chairman of the Democratic National Committee Tom Perez specifically talked about supporting mental health professionals. Other issues discussed at the forum included broadband access, financial literacy, discrimination, and career readiness programs.

Baron Completes Disability Candidate Questionnaire in Maryland Governor’s Race

Key actions and positions posted on the intersection of disability, education, jobs, immigration, climate, criminal justice and more. Annapolis, MD, January 7 – Democratic gubernatorial candidate, former nonprofit executive and federal official Jon Baron responded to a detailed candidate questionnaire on disability issues. The questionnaire is from RespectAbility, a nonpartisan nonprofit disability organization that does…

Gansler Completes Disability Candidate Questionnaire in Maryland Governor’s Race

Key actions and positions posted on the intersection of disability, education, jobs, immigration, climate, criminal justice and more.

Annapolis, MD, December 28 – Democratic gubernatorial candidate and former Attorney General Doug Gansler 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.

One-in-five Americans has a disability, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. People with disabilities are America’s largest minority group. It is also the only one that, due to accident, aging or illness, anyone can join at any time. Indeed, there are over 669,000 people living with some form of disability in Maryland and their votes could be crucial in deciding who succeeds Larry Hogan as Governor of the Old Line State. 

Gansler is the second candidate in the upcoming Democratic primary to respond to RespectAbility’s candidate questionnaire. The questionnaire is purely for educational purposes. RespectAbility is actively communicating with all candidates in Maryland’s upcoming gubernatorial race.

The full text of RespectAbility’s questions and Gansler’s responses follow:

Jain Completes Disability Candidate Questionnaire in Maryland Governor’s Race

Key actions and positions posted on the intersection of disability, education, jobs, immigration, climate, criminal justice and more.

Annapolis, MD, November 5 – Democratic gubernatorial candidate Ashwani Jain 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.

One-in-five Americans has a disability, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. People with disabilities are America’s largest minority group. It is also the only one that, due to accident, aging or illness, anyone can join at any time. Indeed, there are over 669,000 people living with some form of disability in Maryland and their votes could be crucial in deciding who succeeds Larry Hogan as Governor of the Old Line State. 

Jain is the first candidate in the upcoming Democratic primary to respond to RespectAbility’s candidate questionnaire. The questionnaire is purely for educational purposes. RespectAbility is actively communicating with all candidates in Maryland’s upcoming gubernatorial race.

What Biden’s Build Back Better Framework Means for People with Disabilities

The White House outlines framework for the Build Back Better Act, but what does it mean for 56 million Americans with disabilities?

Washington, D.C., October 30 – As October slips into November, the White House is working hard with Congressional leaders to finalize the details, priorities and projects to be funded by the forthcoming Build Back Better Act. After extensive meetings in recent days, a new framework was announced for the forthcoming legislation.

“This framework will guide the drafting of legislative language,” the White House said in a prepared statement released along with the framework. “When enacted, this framework will set the United States on course to meet its climate goals, create millions of good-paying jobs, enable more Americans to join and remain in the labor force, and grow our economy from the bottom up and the middle out.”

This framework has the potential to impact the lives of millions of Americans with disabilities in significant ways through new investments in childcare, health care, and education. However, given how much of this bill is up in the air, a critical question needs to be asked: what specific pieces of this framework directly touch on disability issues?  

Candidates in Race for Governor of Virginia Spar on Vaccines, Omit Speaking Directly to People with Disabilities

Richmond, VA, September 29 – Last night, the second debate for Governor of Virginia was held at Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA) in Alexandria, Virginia between former Governor Terry McAuliffe (D-VA) and businessman Glenn Youngkin (R-VA). Just as with the first debate, neither candidate directly mentioned the disability community. The…

Voter Guide for 1 Million Virginians with Disabilities

Key actions and positions posted on the intersection of disability and education, jobs, immigration, climate crisis, criminal justice and more.

Richmond, VA September 19 – As early voting begins in the run up to the 2021 gubernatorial election in Virginia, the nonpartisan disability rights nonprofit RespectAbility has released its latest Virginia State Voter Guide. According to the 2020 Annual Disability Statistics Compendium, there are 1,006,318 Virginians with disabilities, making up 12.1 percent of the total state population. 

Voters with disabilities want access in democracy, just like anyone else. At the same time, they have specific issues of interest. For example, in the economic expansion prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, only 43.3 percent of more than 491,000 working age (18-64) Virginians with disabilities had jobs. 

McAuliffe Completes Disability Candidate Questionnaire in Virginia’s Governor Race

Key actions and positions posted on the intersection of disability, education, jobs, immigration, climate, criminal justice and more. Richmond, VA, Sept. 16 – Democratic candidate and former Governor Terry McAuliffe has responded to a detailed candidate questionnaire on disability issues. The questionnaire is from RespectAbility, a nonpartisan nonprofit disability organization that does not…

Baade Completes Disability Candidate Questionnaire for California Recall Election

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:

Kilpatrick Completes Disability Candidate Questionnaire for California Recall Election

Key actions and positions posted on the intersection of disability and education, jobs, immigration, climate crisis, criminal justice and more

Sacramento, CA, August 24 – Democratic candidate, actor, screenwriter, and producer Patrick Kilpatrick 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 Kilpatrick’s responses follows:

Dr. Ross Completes Disability Candidate Questionnaire for California Recall Election

Key actions and positions posted on the intersection of disability and education, jobs, immigration, climate crisis, criminal justice and more

Sacramento, CA, August 9 – Democratic candidate, attorney and physician Dr. Brandon Ross 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 Ross’ responses follows:

Ventresca Completes Disability Candidate Questionnaire for California Recall Election

Key actions and positions posted on the intersection of disability and education, jobs, immigration, climate crisis, criminal justice and more

Sacramento, CA, August 5 – Democratic candidate and retired airport analyst Joel Ventresca 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 Ventresca’s responses follows:

Bipartisan Bill Helps Americans with Disabilities Seek Work without Losing Benefits

Washington D.C, July 9 – On June 17, 2021, Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) introduced the Work Without Worry Act. This piece of legislation would allow Americans with disabilities to take on employment opportunities without the fear of losing higher Social Security benefits. 

Currently, if an adult has a disability that began before the age of 22, they may be eligible for Social Security’s Disabled Adult Child (DAC) benefit. This benefit considers these adults to be dependents on their parent(s) and as such their benefits, like any child under the age of 18, rely on their parent’s Social Security contributions and earnings.

NJ Governor Phil Murphy Signs Bill Approving 13th Year for Students with Disabilities

Newark, N.J., July 9 – Last month, Governor Phil Murphy (D-NJ) signed Senate Bill 3434 into law after five months of delays. This piece of legislation extends the length of educational and transitional services for eligible students with disabilities, who are slated to age out of the academic system at the age of 21. In New Jersey, the length of service extension is approximately one year.

How many students will benefit from this new law? 

According to the Disability Compendium Annual Statistics, there are 220,362 students with disabilities served under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) in New Jersey public schools.  Percentage wise, this represents 12.6 percent of all students in New Jersey’s K-12 schools. This might seem like a small percentage; however, every student served deserves an equal right to access resources that they need.

Building an Equitable Recovery: RespectAbility Advises Washington’s Workforce Training and Education Coordinating Board on Solutions for People with Disabilities

Download the Slide Deck

Seattle, WA, June 10 – This week, Washington state’s Workforce Training and Education Coordinating Board met to discuss policies and priorities for moving the Evergreen State’s economy forward. In response, the national disability inclusion organization RespectAbility weighed in with their perspective on how to advance new opportunities for workers with disabilities and close crucial gaps in Washington’s economy.

“When it was passed with broad, bipartisan support in 2014, the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) invested unprecedented resources into efforts to get people with barriers to employment into the labor force,” said the Honorable Steve Bartlett, former Member of Congress, the former Mayor of Dallas and current Chairman of RespectAbility. “Now, after the pandemic that has reshaped our economy, it is time to implement policies that will drive a truly equitable recovery that helps people with disabilities and other marginalized communities get back to work.”

There are 478,673 working-age Washingtonians living with some form of disability. In the economic expansion prior to COVID-19, fully 42 percent of them had jobs. However, because of COVID, more than 1 million workers with disabilities have lost their jobs nationwide. Now, as more Americans get vaccinated and more people get back to work, it is crucial that policy makers implement best practices.

Taryn Mackenzie Williams Nominated to be New Assistant Secretary for Disability Employment Policy

Washington, D.C., June 4 – This past month, the Biden Administration formally nominated Taryn Mackenzie Williams to become the next Assistant Secretary for Disability Employment Policy. On May 27, 2021, the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee met to discuss Williams’ nomination and to consider several other candidates for key political appointments. If confirmed by the Senate, Williams would become the highest-ranking member of the Biden Administration to publicly identified as a person with a disability. 

This is welcome news given that the Administration has publicly committed it to hiring diverse political appointees and yet only 3 percent of more than 1,500 candidates self-identify as having a disability. 

New York City’s Voter Registration Deadline is Today – What Voters Need To Do

New York, NY, May 28 – Today marks the final day to register to vote in the upcoming June 22 Primary Elections in New York City. Fortunately for New Yorkers with and without disabilities, anyone with a valid identification from the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles can register to vote online. You can directly and easily access that information by going to the DMV website.

If you want to register by mail, your registration will need to be postmarked today and mailed out to the Board of Elections. The address is 32 Broadway, 7 Fl New York, NY 10004-1609. Click here to download and complete the form.

If you would like to register in person, local board of elections offices are open until 5:00 p.m. Eastern today. To find your local office, go to the website.

Lastly, to vote in the November 2, 2021 general election, voters must be registered by October 8, 2021. Go to this website for a full list of upcoming voting deadlines.

Sen. Tammy Duckworth Serves as Role Model for Many

Celebrating AAPI Heritage Month by recognizing the Legislative Leadership of Sen. Tammy Duckworth

Washington, D.C., May 23 – Since being elected to represent Illinois in the U.S. Senate in 2016, Tammy Duckworth has carved a name for herself as an advocate for disability and veterans’ rights. She also bears the honor of having many “firsts” to her name. Born to Thai mother of Chinese heritage and an American father on the 12th of March 1968, Sen. Duckworth is the first Thai woman to be elected to U.S. Congress, the first woman to give birth while serving in office as a U.S. senator, and is the first female Senator to use a wheelchair.

According to the U.S. Census, as of 2019, there were 18,297,153 Asian Americans living in the United States. Out of that number, there are 1,315,999 Asian Americans who identify that they are living with some form of disability, many of whom face double discrimination. Sen. Duckworth is helping to fight these stigmas as a very public role model.

Hawaii Sen. Mazie Hirono Recognized for Leadership as an Immigrant and as a Person with a Disability

Celebrating AAPI Heritage Month by recognizing the Legislative Leadership of Sen. Mazie Hirono

Washington, D.C., May 23 – U.S. Senator Mazie Hirono (D-HI) has been working in government since the 1980’s, striving tirelessly to make a difference and has made great advances on many fronts. She is the first Asian American woman elected to the Senate, the first woman elected to the Senate from Hawaii, and the first Buddhist senator. As of May 2017, Hirono is also a woman with a disability serving in the U.S. Senate.

During an x-ray before minor eye surgery, it was discovered that Sen. Hirono had stage 4 kidney cancer. Since then, she has had to undergo surgery to remove her right kidney and a rib, as well as extensive cancer treatment. Hirono considers herself lucky that she was able to get early intervention and that she had health insurance at the time of her diagnosis. Thus, she is a strong supporter of healthcare reform and specifically, Medicare for All. However, her support for healthcare reform started long before her diagnosis.