Candidates Join Historic Issues Forum to Speak to Texas Disability Community
The Disability Vote will be an increasing factor in the upcoming elections. With over 4 million Texans with disabilities, plus their families, friends, colleagues, and professionals that serve them, political candidates are increasingly recognizing this group as an important constituency. Major Texas media, including the San Antonio Express-News, the Houston Chronicle, the Dallas Morning News and the Austin American-Statesman, have already spotlighted disability issues in top-of-the-ballot races.
That’s why a growing coalition of groups from across the state is organizing the Texas Disability Issues Forum (TDIF) on September 24, 2014 in Austin. For the first time in the state’s history, major party candidates for the offices of Governor, Lt. Governor, and Attorney General are invited to a disability-focused event to address the public policy concerns of this community.
To attend please sign up at the Disability Voting Access Project website.
TDIF’s placement just six weeks before Election Day and prior to early voting is no coincidence. “This is a transformational election,” says TDIF organizer Bob Kafka of ADAPT of Texas. “The leadership of our state is changing, and Texans with disabilities are deeply concerned and talking about issues like access to healthcare, attendant wages, and employment and want to know where the candidates stand on them.” He adds, “this has never been done before. It could be a real game-changer.”
Over 45 local and statewide organizations have signed on to co-host TDIF. “At the PVA, we support all Texans with disabilities and hope our elected officials will do the same,” says Darrell Wilson of the Texas Chapter of the Paralyzed Veterans of America, one of the co-hosts.
As of 8/26/14, each of the Democratic candidates– Senator Wendy Davis for Governor, Senator Leticia Van de Putte for Lt. Governor, and Sam Houston for Attorney General– have confirmed their attendance. Organizers continue to work with the campaigns of the Republican candidates– Attorney General Greg Abbott for Governor, Senator Dan Patrick for Lt. Governor, and Senator Ken Paxton for Attorney General– to secure their participation. Organizers emphasize that TDIF is non-partisan and urge unconfirmed invitees to take this opportunity to participate in this historic event.
More about the Forum:
Not a face-to-face debate, candidates will address the community, discuss their position on critical issues and answer questions posed by an independent moderator (KUT’s Ben Philpott). A presentation on accessible voting and voting rights will follow the candidate Q&As, and attendees will be able to register to vote throughout the event.
TDIF will be broadcast and live-streamed on the web by Channel Austin. Media are invited, and photo opportunities will be encouraged.
Lead organizers are ADAPT of Texas, the Coalition of Texans with Disabilities, the Disability Voting Action Project, Texas Parent to Parent, and The Arc of Texas. Over 45 organizations from across the state will co-host and major sponsors include Superior HealthPlan, Amerigroup, Hanger Clinic, and Cigna HealthSpring.
Full details: bit.ly/TexasDIF
Bob Kafka (512) 442-0252 firstname.lastname@example.org
Dennis Borel (512) 478-3366 email@example.com