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. Thirty-nine down ballot candidates, including 26 for Senate and 11 for governor, from both sides of the aisle (24 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. This is the first time down-ballot candidates have been asked to complete a questionnaire about disability-related issues on such a wide scale.

RespectAbility fellows, young individuals with disabilities, compiled the responses and packaged stories by topic. Check them out for great policy answers from a wide variety of candidates:

 Accessibility  Healthcare
 Assistive Technology  Housing
 Community-Based Living  Foreign Policy
 Crime & Police Violence  Rape & Assault
 Criminal Justice Reform  Transportation
 Education  Veterans with Disabilities
 Employment

Utilizing candidate responses to both the down ballot and presidential campaign questionnaires, RespectAbility has released 51 state voter guides.

Key Senate race outcomes could be changed by outreach to the disability community, including the races in Maryland, North Carolina and Wisconsin, where at least one candidate in the race has enacted legislation that has impacted people with disabilities.

Since disability does not discriminate, voters with disabilities are every race, age, ethnic group, religion and gender. As the presidential election has become polarized around racial and ethnic lines, disability issues can create the difference between winning and losing.

View your state’s voter guide below:


Alabama Kentucky North Dakota
Alaska Louisiana Ohio
Arizona Maine Oklahoma
Arkansas Maryland Oregon
California Massachusetts Pennsylvania
Colorado Michigan Rhode Island
Connecticut Minnesota South Carolina
Delaware Mississippi South Dakota
Washington, D.C. Missouri Tennessee
Florida Montana Texas
Georgia Nebraska Utah
Hawaii Nevada Vermont
Idaho New Hampshire Virginia
Illinois New Jersey Washington
Indiana New Mexico West Virginia
Iowa New York Wisconsin
Kansas North Carolina Wyoming

RespectAbility and The RespectAbility Report are nonpartisan and do not endorse candidates. The questionnaire is purely for educational purposes.

Below are links to detailed answers to the questionnaire. Every major party candidate for president, senate and governor was given an equal opportunity to address these issues and if they are not listed, it is because they declined to answer. Is your state’s candidate missing? There’s still time for him or her to respond and be included! Check out this linked Excel list for candidates’ contact information so you can call, email or tweet them encouraging them to complete the questionnaire!

State Gubernatorial Candidate View Full Answers
Delaware Colin Bonini (R) http://bit.ly/PwDsVoteBonini
Delaware John Carney (D) http://bit.ly/PwDsVoteCarney
Missouri Chris Koster (D) http://bit.ly/PwDsVoteKoster
Montana Steve Bullock (D) http://bit.ly/PwDsVoteBullock
Montana Greg Gianforte (R) http://bit.ly/PwDsVoteGianforte
New Hampshire
(lost primary)
Derek Dextraze (D) http://bit.ly/PwDsVoteDextraze
Oregon Bud Pierce (R) http://bit.ly/PwDsVotePierce
Utah Mike Weinholtz (D) http://bit.ly/PwDsVoteWeinholtz
Vermont Sue Minter (D) http://bit.ly/PwDsVoteMinter
Vermont Phil Scott (R) http://bit.ly/PwDsVoteScott
Washington Bill Bryant (R) http://bit.ly/PwDsVoteBryant

 

State Senate Candidate View Full Answers
Alabama Ron Crumpton (D) http://bit.ly/PwDsVoteCrumpton
California Kamala Harris (D) http://bit.ly/PwDsVoteHarris
California Loretta Sanchez (D) http://bit.ly/PwDsVoteSanchez
Florida
(lost primary)
Dwight Young (R) http://bit.ly/PwDsVoteYoung
Hawaii John Carroll (R) http://bit.ly/PwDsVoteCarroll
Illinois Tammy Duckworth (D) http://bit.ly/PwDsVoteDuckworth
Illinois Mark Kirk (R) http://bit.ly/PwDsVoteKirk
Kansas Patrick Wiesner (D) http://bit.ly/PwDsVoteWiesner
Louisiana Foster Campell (D) http://bit.ly/PwDsVoteCampbell
Louisiana Caroline Fayard (D) http://bit.ly/PwDsVoteFayard
Louisiana Abhay Patel (R) http://bit.ly/PwDsVotePatel
Maryland Kathy Szeliga (R) http://bit.ly/PwDsVoteSzeliga
Maryland Chris Van Hollen (D) http://bit.ly/PwDsVoteVanHollen
Missouri Jason Kander (D) http://bit.ly/PwDsVoteKander
Nevada Joe Heck (R) http://bit.ly/PwDsVoteHeck
Nevada Catherine Cortez Masto (D) http://bit.ly/PwDsVoteMasto
New Hampshire Kelly Ayotte (R) http://bit.ly/PwDsVoteAyotte
New Hampshire Maggie Hassan (D) http://bit.ly/PwDsVoteHassan
North Carolina Richard Burr (R) http://bit.ly/PwDsVoteBurr
North Carolina Deborah Ross (D) http://bit.ly/PwDsVoteRoss
Ohio Joe DeMare (Green) http://bit.ly/PwDsVoteDeMare
Oregon Mark Callahan (R) http://bit.ly/PwDsVoteCallahan
Pennsylvania Katie McGinty (D) http://bit.ly/PwDsVoteMcGinty
South Dakota Jay Williams (D) http://bit.ly/PwDsVoteWilliams
Vermont Patrick Leahy (D) http://bit.ly/PwDsVoteLeahy
Wisconsin Russ Feingold (D) http://bit.ly/PwDsVoteFeingold
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