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Disability issues in the Presidential campaign
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Jan. 20, 2004 -- The Iowa caucuses signal the start of the Presidential campaign. MA. Sen. John Kerry has just won in Iowa. But there's still New Hampshire, and the other upcoming primaries. This year, all Democratic candidates are paying attention to disability issues. Well before the 2004 election season began, disability rights groups and politically savvy activists began working to get disability issues onto candidates' radar screens.

Back in the fall, the American Association of People with Disabilities asked the candidates their views on * Having disabled people involved in their campaign and administration * Appointing judges who will support disability rights and supporting an ADA "Restoration Act" * Medicaid and the Medicaid Community Attendant Services and Supports Act (MiCASSA) * Funding IDEA and improving graduation rates of students with disabilities Their responses are online at the AAPD website.

In October, former Rep. Tony Coelho gave a speech at New York Law School in which he challenged the candidates to * appoint federal judges who will respect the Americans with Disabilities Act; * reverse the damage to the ADA by recent Supreme Court caselaw; boost employment for people with disabilities through changes in federal contracting and small business policies; * increase federal employment of people with disabilities by 100,000 as required under the Executive Order promulgated by President Clinton; and * change federal policies to remove work disincentives. Read the speech. Read Gov. Howard Dean's response. Read Sen. John Edwards's (D-NC) response. Read Rep. Richard Gephardt's response.

The Coalition for the Advancement of Medical Research asked candidates' views on stem-cell research and therapeutic cloning; the responses are on their website .

You can view each candidate's disability platform online by following the links at the National Organization on Disability website at

For an overview and discussion of the Democratic campaign and disability rights, visit

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