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Saturday, October 15, 2016

Presidential Candidates and the Disability Platform

In Feb of this year RespectAbility released a "Disability Voter Guide" ahead of Super Tuesday with a rundown of where each candidate stood on disability issues.

In creating this guide they sent each of the candidates a survey of 16 questions on disability-related issues so people with disabilities and their families would know how each candidate planned to address important issues affecting people with disabilities.

Clinton and Sanders returned the survey with all questions answered; Carson and Kasich returned it with some of the questions answered; Cruz, Rubio, and Trump hadn't filled it out. (On the link above you can click on each person's profile to see how they answered the questions.)

This month the website Complex Child takes a closer look at the disability policies of all 4, yes 4, presidential candidates.

Usually they would use the candidates' responses on the disability survey as well as the candidates' campaign websites for their source material to allow the "candidates to speak for themselves about the issues." However, since some candidates have failed to complete the survey they relied only on candidate websites for fairness.

The five categories they compared candidate positions for are
- Disability Rights
- Medicaid, Insurance, and the Healthcare System
- Special Education
- Community Living
- Specific Condition Plans (like autism)

Some things that jumped out to me after looking through the responses to the 5 issues:

1. Clinton is the only one who has a section on her website on Disability or Disability Rights.

2. For each of the 5 issues Clinton's information is a paragraph long and very detailed; the other candidates sometimes have no information given or just a few sentences worth.

3. Johnson does not address disability issues on his website

4. Trump only discuses disability as it relates to veterans - difficulty accessing disability payments and services.

5. Most of the 'hits' on Stein's page on disability are from comments and questions about disability that voters have asked and not statements made by Stein.

6. Clinton has several plans relating to Special Education, one of which is to fulfill the promise to fully fund special education services through the Individuals with Disability Education Act. (Federal government was supposed to pay 40% of special education, the most they've paid is 17%).

7. Johnson, Stein, nor Trump specifically mention Special Education; although Trump does criticize Clinton's plan to fully fund IDEA as too expensive.

I know we don't, or shouldn't anyway, vote for a candidate based on just one platform, such as disability, we need to look at the whole picture and their plans for many other important issues as well.

As a parent of a child with a disability, this is obviously an important issue for me. To see the information, or lack of information/plan, each candidate has for various disability issues was eye-opening for me.

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Beth Hardinger said...

Based on this alone? I'm with her.

Heather said...

Thank you for highlighting this! I only recently discovered Clinton's disability platform and have been pleasantly surprised! Certainly important that our president has plans for making the country more accessible for Americans with disabilities.