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The 2016 Presidential Election is finally over! After nearly 600 days of campaigning, this unprecedented contest for the highest office in the land will now be laid to rest in the annals of American history.
President-elect Trump will have a myriad of issues to confront over the next four years as Commander-in-chief, among them: eroded faith in the US political process, globalization’s impact on the American worker, and national security challenges ranging from climate change to cybersecurity.
Despite previous incidents in which Mr. Trump displayed a lack of understanding or appreciation toward people with disabilities – now 20% of our citizenry – he now has the opportunity to correct this course and address critical issues facing the nation’s largest minority. Here is a (non-exhaustive) list of suggestions the new Administration should consider in order to advance disability rights.
The following is the opinion of the contributor and does not reflect the official policy of the Ruderman Family Foundation
1. Increase funding of and expand job training opportunities in the public and private sector for people with and without disabilities.
2. An increase in mental healthcare funding and access for the general population, including services, with additional emphasis toward parents, spouses and guardians of individuals with disabilities.
3. Greater funding and training to all law enforcement agencies in US states and territories surrounding best practices toward interacting with people with disabilities (physical, developmental and emotional).
4. More inclusive hiring practices for government contractors, building upon the Department of Labor’s Equal Employment Opportunity initiatives.
5. Enforced ADA rules on web accessibility and annual reviews to keep up with the ever-evolving tech market.
6. Emphasize physical, tactile, auditory and visual accessibility for federal infrastructure repair and development projects – including transit.
7. Private sector subsidies and other financial incentives for the creation and/or implementation of accessible technologies.
8. Ratify the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, displaying our conviction to the world that the United States believes in promoting, protecting and ensuring the full and equal enjoyment of all human rights by persons with disabilities.
9. Ensure complete retention of disability benefits during marriage. Why should a person with a disability have to choose between matrimony or money?
10. Visibility! Our public servants – especially the Presidential Cabinet – are supposed to be reflective of our nation’s population. Having more representatives of the Administration be people with disabilities would be a huge step toward equality and changing society’s perception.