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Dear Disability Community Advocates,

I'm pleased to share with you this month's newsletter. We have a number of successes to report, as well as big events coming up. Our issues are getting needed attention in the press. In case you missed it, the Philadelphia Inquirer recently published, "People with disabilities are increasing their ranks in elected office. But they’re still underrepresented." Here are key facts: "The study, released by Rutgers University earlier this month, found that 10.3% of full-time elected officials at the federal, state, and local levels between 2013 and 2017 had a disability. That was an increase from 8.5% between 2008 and 2012, the researchers said. But people with disabilities remain underrepresented overall: About 15% of the U.S. adult population is disabled."

This is why your participation and continued advocacy for accessibility and inclusion matters. Whether it's volunteering with the Disability Council, assisting your local party with planning accessible events, or making your friends and neighbors aware that our community has a right to be represented at all levels of government, each of you is making a difference. As election day approaches, if you are volunteering with a campaign or helping your local party, feel free to share our quick overview of what Democratic campaigns need to know about the ADA.

Thank you for fighting for accessibility and inclusion locally and nationally. Thank you for staying in this fight! 

In solidarity,
Tony Coelho
DNC Disability Council Chair

P.S. To follow Disability Council news and events, remember to "like" us on the Disability Council Facebook page.


DNC on Blind Americans Equality Day

DNC Chair Tom Perez, DNC Disability Council Chair Tony Coelho, and DNC Disability Council Finance Vice Chair Janni Lehrer-Stein released the following statement:

“No one should be denied dignity and opportunity because of a disability. President Obama fought to improve workplace accessibility for blind workers and mandated best practices for the use of Braille on their medicines. But Donald Trump has shown time and again that blind Americans aren’t a priority for his administration. He has failed to move forward with implementing the Obama administration’s efforts to make our currency more accessible to those who are blind or low vision. And he has consistently mocked and demeaned those in the disability community.

“Today and every day, Democrats are committed to expanding opportunity for all Americans, including those who are blind or low vision.”

Congratulations to WI Democratic Disability Caucus!

Midwestern Regional Vice-Chair Terry Friedrichs reports that WISCONSIN has had a dynamic last several months in disability organizing. In June 2019, after months of organizing, the WI Democratic Disability Caucus was recognized as an official Caucus of the WI Democratic Party at the party’s state convention in Milwaukee. At the convention, the Caucus approved a constitution and a slate of officers. Since that time, Caucus Chair Adam Brabender has given interviews about the Caucus’ formation and progress and statewide disability issues, in the Madison-area WI State Journal and the Isthmus. Adam would like for the Caucus to play a productive part of the 2020 National Democratic Conference.

Youth Outreach efforts 

The Youth Committee will develop a transition guide for incoming college students with disabilities. The guide will help them find the necessary resources on campus and organizations with which they can work. It is expected to be completed by the end of the 2019-20 academic year. If you would like to get involved, please contact Youth Outreach Committee Chair Seamus Campbell  (, and co-chairs Rachel Gonzalez (, and Anna Landre ( 

New York State Young Democrats Disability Issues Caucus and Manhattan Young Democrats’ will host "Disability Community Voter Rights And Information Session" this evening October 30, 2019 at 7 PM EST. RSVP by visiting: This event will be oriented towards New York election law, but some national topics will be covered as well. Come learn from attorney and autism advocate Michael Gilberg about your rights as a voter with a disability including:
  • Curbside voting for people with mobility concerns
  • Adaptive technology for people who are blind or have low vision
  • How to address offensively "helpful" poll workers
  • An accessible introduction to the candidates running in November.
  • An accessible explanation of the many important ballot initiatives in November.
  • A talk on people losing their right to vote after being adjudged incompetent
Visit for the livestream event. 
Tune in to Presidential forums on disability issues

A Conversation with Democratic Presidential Candidates: Focus - People with Disabilities and Health Care - November 2, 2019

National Iowa Dem. Disability Caucus Chair Catherine Crist has been busy with accessibility and disability consciousness among presidential campaigns in Iowa, as well as with continued work with the states' democratic disability caucuses. She is organizing "A Conversation with Democratic Presidential Candidates: Focus - People with Disabilities and Health Care" on November 2, 2019 from 10-4 PM in Cedar Rapids, IA, with virtual participation. Featured speakers include the Honorable Tony Coelho and the Honorable Tom Harkin. For event details, please visit the Facebook page for the event: CLICK HERE. To register for this event, CLICK HERE. If you have any questions that you would like to be considered, please reach out to Catherine Crist at

Presidential Forum on Disability Issues - November 3, 2019

The Disabilities Resource Center of Siouxland is proud to announce our national nonpartisan Presidential Forum on Disability Issues. The forum will take place on November 3, 2019 at Morningside College.
The Presidential Forum on Disabilities Issues will place the pressing questions the disability community faces on center stage and give major party Presidential candidates an opportunity to discuss policy decisions that affect approximately 23% of the American electorate. Seating is limited so claim your free ticket today! If you have any specific questions you would like to ask any of the presidential candidates, please comment below. This event will be streamed live on Facebook. For tickets, agenda, and details, visit this link

Elected for Inclusion – the Presidential Forum on Disabilities Issues - January 13, 2020

The American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) and REV UP Texas are proud to announce Elected for Inclusion, our national nonpartisan Presidential forum on disability issues. The forum will take place on January 13, 2020 at the AT&T Hotel and Convention Center in Austin, Texas in advance of Super Tuesday and the November 2020 elections. Elected for Inclusion – the Presidential Forum on Disabilities Issues will place the pressing questions the disability community faces on center stage and give major party Presidential candidates an opportunity to discuss policy decisions that affect approximately 23% of the American electorate. AAPD and REV UP Texas are hosting Elected for Inclusion as a means of highlighting the power of the disability vote. In 2020, over 35 million eligible voters will be people with disabilities.  The number of “disability voters” increases to over 62 million when we consider the ripple effect of the disability vote that connects families, friends, advocates, educators, providers, and other individuals that interact with people with disabilities. For tickets, agenda, and details, visit this link

Congratulations to the Disability Council Policy Committee!

The Policy Committee has created a first draft of a policy guide which addresses employment, criminal justice, emergency mgmt and climate change, transportation, housing, education, financial wellness, and healthcare. Thank you to co-chairs Kelly Buckland and Chakir Underdown, as well as over 30 committee members who made this possible! 
Finance Committee update

Per Disability Council Vice Chair for Fundraising and Development Janni Lehrer-Stein, DNC Disability Council Finance Committee's fundraising total grew slightly this month, from an approximate $230,000 to $233,250! Thank you to those who attended the Women’s Leadership Forum and contributed through the Council's link!

The Disability Council is interested in organizing a finance event in Texas, SF/Bay area, or Boston. Please let us know if you are interested in creating or assisting in a finance event by contacting Finance Committee co-chair Dylan Bulkeley-Krane at
Protect the Disability Vote

The Disability Council's Voter Protection Committee chairs met DNC Voter Protection team to develop plans ahead of the 2020 General Election for disability integration into the election protection plan and education to our state partners. If you are interested in volunteering, please contact Eddie Correia and Kelly Simoneaux
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