1 in 6 Votes Has a Disability. Why Don't Candidates Campaign for Their Support?
Disabilities have long been overlooked by candidates for office.
PHILADELPHIA — Zachary Lewis has watched politicians compete for votes from the middle class, Latino voters and LGBTQ communities. He has listened to presidential candidates debate how they’ll support farmers or fight for racial justice.
But Lewis, 38, who is paralyzed from the waist down, said he rarely if ever hears politicians speak to people with disabilities — or advocate for the policies they need.
“When I hear (politicians) talk, I don’t hear them talking to me at all — as a human being, as a person with a disability,” said Lewis, who lives in West Philadelphia and is executive director of Disabled in Action, a civil rights group that fights disability discrimination. “I am constantly making noise to be heard, but I don’t feel like anyone is listening.