First Ever Gubernatorial Town Hall on Disability Issues
Concord, NH – The precedent-setting Gubernatorial Town Hall on Disability Issues held on October 13th sparked a lively conversation between candidates Governor Chris Sununu and Senator Dan Feltes who delivered their disability policy platforms, experience, and vision if elected.
Hosted by ABLE NH, Granite State Independent Living, Disability Rights Center-NH, the NH Council on Developmental Disabilities, and the Institute on Disability at UNH, and moderated by Scott Spradling of the Spradling Group, the accessible Zoom-based Town Hall was simultaneously live-streamed on Facebook.
Seeking clarity on what the candidates will do to address an array of inequities, over 150 Granite Staters impacted by disability submitted real-time questions to the candidates. The candidates were also provided five questions prior to the event, which covered inclusive education, workforce shortage, housing, transportation, and disability employment.
“Townhalls are crucial for creating civil and informed dialogue on critical community and policy topics. Today’s event provided much needed attention to the critical issues facing individuals living with disability and their families,” said Kelly Nye-Lengermen, Executive Director of the Institute on Disability at UNH.
"People with disabilities are a powerful voting block. I'm pleased that both candidates answered questions directly from voters with disabilities so they can make an informed decision on November 3rd,” said Stephanie Patrick, Executive Director of Disability Rights Center- NH.
“The pandemic has showcased precisely the types of challenges facing the disabled community for decades: access to work, technology, and flexibility of programs,” explains Deb Ritcey, CEO of Granite State Independent Living. “Our consumers want to participate in the workforce, they want to contribute to society and are ready to do so. All they ask is that policies from health care to education to housing accommodate the unique needs of this population. Society has learned how to connect from a distance because of COVID-19, let’s extend that relationship to the very people who have been asking for this assistance for years.”
“This event was an important opportunity for individuals and families impacted by disabilities to hear from the candidates about their viewpoints in shaping disability policy in NH,” said Isadora Rodriguez-Legendre, Executive Director of the NH Council on Developmental Disabilities. "It’s imperative that people with disabilities seize the opportunity to exercise power and control over their own lives by voting for leaders who represent their values for community inclusion. I’m so glad that we had such a great turn out for this event.”
“Granite Staters learned from the candidates their policy vision for and values around inclusion, equity, and opportunity for people impacted by disability. Given the success of this inaugural event, we look forward to making the Disability Town Hall a regular stop on the campaign trail” said Lisa Beaudoin, Executive Director of ABLE NH.
To view a recording of the event please visit: https://us02web.zoom.us/rec/share/pDBC3qEeT-G3KiFtSF1GMMHRiEu7eIdELXy-0o...
About ABLE NH
Advocates Building Lasting Equality in NH (ABLE NH) advocates for the civil and human rights of children and adults with disabilities; and promotes full participation by: improving systems of supports, connecting families, inspiring communities, and influencing public policy. Learn more about ABLE NH at www.ablenh.org.
About Disability Rights Center-NH
Disability Rights Center-NH is New Hampshire’s designated Protection and Advocacy system and is dedicated to eliminating barriers existing in New Hampshire to the full and equal enjoyment of civil and other legal rights by people with disabilities. More information about DRC-NH can be found at www.drcnh.org.
About Granite State Independent Living
Granite State Independent Living is New Hampshire’s statewide nonprofit organization whose mission is to promote quality of life with independence for people with disabilities and seniors through advocacy, information, education, support, and transition services. GSIL serves as the designated statewide independent living organization. More information about GSIL can be found at www.gsil.org.
About the Institute on Disability at UNH
The Institute on Disability was established in 1987 to provide a university-based focus for the improvement of knowledge, policies, and practices related to the lives of people with disabilities and their families and is New Hampshire’s University Center for Excellence in Disability (UCED). Located within the University of New Hampshire, the IOD is a federally designated center authorized by the Developmental Disabilities Act. Through innovative and interdisciplinary research, academic, service, and dissemination initiatives, the IOD builds local, state, and national capacities to respond to the needs of individuals with disabilities and their families. More information about the IOD can be found at iod.unh.edu.
About the NH Council on Developmental Disabilities
The New Hampshire Council on Developmental Disabilities is a federally funded agency that supports public policies and initiatives that remove barriers and promote opportunities in all areas of life. The Council is independent of the agencies that provide services to people with disabilities. The Council’s mission is: “Dignity, full rights of citizenship, cultural diversity, equal opportunity, and full participation for all NH citizens with developmental disabilities.” The Council carries out its mission through education, advocacy and the funding of innovative projects that make a difference in people's lives. More information about the Council can be found at www.nhddc.org.
Lisa D. Beaudoin, Executive Director of ABLE NH (603) 878-0459, firstname.lastname@example.org