Dear Disability Community Advocates,
Happy New Year. Your efforts are making a difference.
For the first time, the December debates put a spotlight on the disability community! Missed the debate? Check out "5 Disability Lessons Everyone Can Learn From The December Democratic Debate" and "Disability Rights Finally Got Airtime in Thursday Night's Debate".
Many of the presidential campaigns have completed the Presidential Questionnaire on Disability Policies, developed by National Council on Independent Living (NCIL) and the REV UP Campaign American Association of People with Disabilities’ (AAPD). Check out their responses by clicking HERE. Notably, eight presidential candidates have unveiled disability policy platforms, thanks to invaluable input and hard work from advocates like you.
Save the date for the next Democratic debate sponsored by CNN and the Des Moines Register on January 14 at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa. You can find a full listing of debates, primaries, and important dates, compiled by DemList at the end of this email.
Thank you for fighting for accessibility and inclusion locally and nationally. Thank you for staying in this fight!
DNC Disability Council Chair
P.S. To follow Disability Council news and events, remember to "like" us on the Disability Council Facebook page. As always, if you have any feedback or suggestions, please don't hesitate to reach out to me.
Elected for Inclusion: A Presidential Forum on Disability Issues
Greetings and Happy New Year,
Due to the timing of the January democratic presidential candidate debate, the impeachment proceedings in the Senate, and other factors beyond the control of the organizers, Elected for Inclusion: A Presidential Forum on Disability Issues has been postponed. It will be rescheduled, and we are working with our partners to determine a new date as soon as possible.
As we have worked on Elected for Inclusion, we have been deeply appreciative of the enthusiastic public response for this effort, including ticket sales, partnerships, and event volunteers. The 2020 election cycle has seen unprecedented levels of engagement on disability issues from Presidential candidates, with 8 candidates issuing detailed disability policy platforms and many completing the AAPD/NCIL Presidential Candidate Questionnaire on Disability Policies. However, with the announcement of the January democratic presidential candidate debate (January 14th) and the pending Senate impeachment hearing, and other factors, we realized that the Forum’s planned date and location - January 13th in Austin, Texas - would not allow for the level of direct candidate engagement that the disability community deserves nor would the date allow for a level of candidate engagement that reflects candidates’ commitment and interest in disability rights. Although we worked diligently with campaigns and community partners to manage these challenges and identify creative methods of engagement, with a little more than a week and a half before the event, AAPD and REV UP Texas had to make the difficult but necessary decision to postpone the forum. We continue to work with presidential campaigns and community partners to determine a new date.
We remain committed to the political empowerment of people with disabilities and elevating the power of the disability vote, and we appreciate your support and understanding as we work to establish a new plan for this important event. Building the power of the disability vote starts at the local and state levels, and the forum will reflect the growing influence of the disability community within the electorate.
For those who have already registered for the forum, your registration will be applied to the new conference date. Refunds are available but individuals are encouraged to await developments regarding rescheduling before making a refund request. We sincerely apologize for any issues that this postponement may cause. Please do not hesitate to reach out if you have any questions or concerns.
Maria Town, President and CEO, AAPD Bob Kafka, REV UP Texas
A Conversation with Democratic Presidential Candidates: Focus - People with Disabilities and Health Care - November 2, 2019
National Iowa Democratic Disability Caucus Chair Catherine Crist organized "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. These questions were generated through the AIO Conference, and submitted from advocates around the country. All presidential Candidates were invited and the following attended: Senator Chris Dodd for Vice President Joe Biden, Senator Cory Booker, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, the Honorable John Delaney, Senator Amy Klobuchar, Senator Bernie Sanders, and Andrew Yang. Each candidate answered questions for 30 minutes and then spoke with voters following their remarks. Over 200 people participated, with an additional 57 members of the press. Every campaign had information booths. The Facebook livestream of the event had every state represented, with over 100 viewers from California alone.
Spotlight on Iowa Disability Caucus
Monthly Conversations with Candidates are held in conjunction with Iowa Disability Caucus and sponsored by the Iowa Democratic Party. The following presidential candidates have participated: Representative Eric Swalwell, Secretary Julian Castro, the Honorable John Delaney, Tom Steyer, and Marianne Williamson. At the Conversations with Candidates, candidates are asked whether they have people with disabilities as a part of their campaign and policy staff, and if elected, if they would commit to including them in their cabinet. Iowa Disability Caucus Catherine Crist has future commitments from Vice President Joe Biden, Senator Corey Booker, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Senator Amy Klobuchar, Senator Bernie Sanders, and Andrew Yang. The following month will be very busy for Iowa Disability Caucus as they continue to organize Conversations with Candidates and prepare for the Iowa Caucus on February 3rd.
Youth Outreach Committee
The Youth Outreach Committee, chaired by Seamus Campbell, and the Young Democrats of America Disability Caucus wrote a resolution urging 2020 presidential candidates to address disability rights. The resolution passed unanimously at the YDA meeting in Birmingham, Alabama. Read the resolution by clicking HERE.
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! Our scheduled fundraiser in Austin has been postponed. However, the Disability Council is interested in organizing a finance event in 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.
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.
Let us know what's happening in your region.
If you would like to share news of events within your own state’s Disability Caucus, for inclusion in this newsletter, please contact Midwestern Disability Council Vice-Chair Dr. Terry Friedrichs, Western Chair Jayson Morris, and Eastern Chair Monica Wiley.
2020 Campaign Calendar Countdown by DemList
January 14: Seventh Democratic Primary Debate (Des Moines, Iowa)
February 3: Iowa Caucuses
February 7: Eighth Democratic Primary Debate (Manchester, New Hampshire)
February 11: New Hampshire Primaries
February 19: Ninth Democratic Primary Debate (Las Vegas, Nevada)
February 22: Nevada Democratic Caucuses
February 25: Tenth Democratic Primary Debate (Charleston, South Carolina)
February 29: South Carolina Democratic Primary
March: Eleventh Democratic Primary Debate (TBD)
March 3: Super Tuesday! AL, AS, AR, CA, CO, ME, MA, MN, NC, OK, TN, TX, UT, VT, VA & Democrats Abroad
March 10: Idaho, Michigan, Missouri, Mississippi and Washington Primaries, North Dakota Caucus
March 14: Northern Marianas Caucus
March 17: Arizona, Florida, Illinois and Ohio Primaries
March 24: Georgia Primaries
March 29: Puerto Rico Primary
April: Twelfth Democratic Primary Debate (TBD)
April 4: Alaska, Hawaii and Louisiana Primaries, Wyoming County Caucuses
April 7: Wisconsin Primaries
April 28: Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, New York, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island Primaries
April 28: Special Election in Maryland's 7th Congressional District
May 2: Guam Caucus, Kansas Primary
May 5: Indiana Primaries
May 12: Nebraska and West Virginia Primaries,
Special Elections in Wisconsin's 7th CD Special Election and California's 25th Congressional District
May 19: Kentucky and Oregon Primaries
June 2: D.C., Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico and South Dakota Primaries
June 6: Virgin Islands CaucusJuly 13-16: Democratic National Convention in Milwaukee, Wisconsin
August 24-27: Republican National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina
September 29: First Presidential Debate (Notre Dame, Indiana)
October 7: Vice Presidential Debate (Salt Lake City, Utah)
October 15: Second Presidential Debate (Ann Arbor, Michigan)
October 22: Third Presidential Debate (Nashville, Tennessee)
November 3: 2020 Election Day