Clinton’s 2016 Campaign Brings Disability Issues to the Forefront of the Presidential Election
Thursday, September 29, 2016
As interesting as it was to watch the first presidential debate between Trump and Clinton (regardless of your political affiliation), I think as parents and family members of individuals with special needs, we can all agree on one thing: we need to start paying attention to the campaign promises of both candidates in regards to disability issues.
Having said that, let’s take a look at both nominees and their plans to improve the lives of individuals with disabilities. This blog will be relatively one-sided one because, at the time of writing, Donald Trump has yet to break silence on any issues relating to the disability and the special needs communities. According to our own research, the only reference he has made to the disability community comes from an incident where he was accused of mocking a reporter with a physical disability. The Washington Post corroborates this, stating in a recent article that “Trump’s campaign website contains no policy proposals specifically aimed at helping disabled people, and the topic is not part of his regular campaign speeches.”
Hillary Clinton, on the other hand, has been anything but silent. In an M&L blog post from February 2016, titled Disability Issues and Election Agendas, we discussed her plan to “support children, youth, and adults living with autism and their families” in a “wide-ranging autism initiative—including screening, diagnosis, treatment, services, safety and legal protections for individuals on the autism spectrum across the lifespan, steps to ensure they are treated with dignity, partnerships to help them secure employment, support for families and caregivers, and a commitment to increase research funding to deepen our understanding of autism.” (www.hillaryclinton.com)
This past week Clinton turned her attention to disability issues once again, delivering a speech that “focused on supporting job prospects for people with disabilities”, “promis[ing] to make colleges and universities more accessible, and to eliminate laws that allow employers to pay certain workers below minimum wage.”
Clinton’s Promises to the Disability Community
“Today I want to focus on one area that hasn’t gotten enough attention. It concerns a group of Americans who are, too often, invisible, overlooked, and undervalued; who have so much to offer but are given too few chances to prove it…I’m talking about people with disabilities.”
That opening line of Clinton’s speech on September 21, 2016, no doubt resonated with the 54 million Americans living with a disability, and cemented a theme that Clinton has following through the course of her presidential campaign – obtaining the increasingly important “disability vote.” As RespectAbility president Jennifer Laszlo said in a recent blog post, “Since disability doesn’t 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.”
Clinton’s plan to improve the lives of individuals with disabilities revolves around one key point: offering more economic opportunities to this community through creating an “inclusive economy that welcomes, values, and treats with respect” the economic contributions from individuals with disabilities.
As specifically outlined in her speech, Clinton plans to “target and tackle extreme poverty” in the disability community by:
- Fighting to give more Americans with Disabilities the chance to work alongside those without disabilities in integrated work settings – the same work deserves the same pay and benefits.
- Eliminate the sub-minimum wage as good work deserves fair pay.
- Work with colleges and universities to make them more accessible for students with disabilities.
- Make accessibility a priority in all classrooms across the country.
- Partner with businesses and other stakeholders to ensure those with disabilities are hired and stay hired.
- Explore initiatives to fully integrate those with disabilities into the nation’s economy.
- Ratify the UN Convention on the Rights of Person with Disabilities.
Until Next Week!
Again, thank you for taking the time to visit our website today. We hope that we have provided you with some valuable information on the status of disability issues in the 2016 presidential campaign, and have inspired you to do some independent research as to how your vote can affect the lives of individuals with disabilities.
If you would like more information, please contact us! We would be happy to provide you with some useful resources. If you are interested in learning how M&L offers services designed to improving the lives of individuals with disability one family at a time, please let us know – we would love to discuss your unique situation with you.
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