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Candidates' Responses to Disability Survey Detailed in Voter Guides

About 56 million Americans live with some type of disability, and voters guides are available by state featuring candidates' views on the issues that affect them. (cityofirvine.gov)
About 56 million Americans live with some type of disability, and voters guides are available by state featuring candidates' views on the issues that affect them. (cityofirvine.gov)
November 3, 2016

ANNAPOLIS, Md. – A group advocating for rights for people with disabilities has spent the last year contacting all the candidates running for president, governor and U.S. Senate in the general election, asking them to fill out a survey explaining how they would address the issues that 56 million Americans with disabilities face.

Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi, president of the group RespectAbility, says of these Americans, more than 35 million are eligible to vote on Tuesday, representing close to one-sixth of the total electorate.

"We have a number of questions – from employment for people with disabilities, to the issue of sexual assault, to the issue of health care, transportation, education, foreign policy – all around the issues that impact the one in five Americans who have a disability," she says

Laszlo Mizrahi adds there is a voter guide for each state, and her organization has posted answers by national and state candidates at TheRespectAbilityReport.org.

Laszlo Mizrahi says people with disabilities in Maryland especially want to hear from political candidates about how they'll help people with disabilities find work, because fewer than 40 percent have jobs.

"And that means that people with disabilities in Maryland are literally the poorest of the poor financially, and they're really looking for job opportunities," she states.

Laszlo Mizrahi says both the Republican and Democratic candidates who are seeking Maryland's open U.S. Senate seat, as well as presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, completed the questionnaire.

"It's particularly frustrating in the case of Mr. Trump, because Hillary Clinton responded so very, very early and very thoroughly to the candidate questionnaire,” she states, “and in the primary, saw the same happen with Jeb Bush and John Kasich and other Republicans."

The responses RespectAbility received are geographically diverse, from states across the country.

Laszlo Mizrahi says this is the first time down-ballot candidates have been asked to complete a questionnaire about disability-related issues on such a wide scale.

Veronica Carter, Public News Service - MD