President Barack Obama, Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney Sending Representatives to Speak to Americans With Disabilities

September 24, 2012


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Edward M. "Ted" Kennedy, Jr., and Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) are speaking on behalf of their respective parties at the National Forum on Disability Issues (NFDI) to present their campaign's positions on matters relating to Americans with disabilities. The event takes place between 12:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m., Friday, Sept. 28, at the Hyatt Regency, Columbus, Ohio.

The non-partisan forum is the only national event that brings together representatives from President Barack Obama's and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney's campaigns and provides them with a platform to present their candidate's policy positions on disability issues. Invitations have also been extended to candidates from both parties for the U.S. Senate from Ohio, Sen. Sherrod Brown (D) and Republican nominee Treasurer Josh Mandel. Rep. Nancy Garland (D-New Albany) has confirmed her participation on behalf of Sen. Brown.

"There are more than 57 million Americans with disabilities," said Sue Hetrick, director of public policy of the Ability Center of Greater Toledo and coordinator of the Ohio Disability Vote Coalition. "This is an opportunity for the growing disability community to hear the policy viewpoints of the people who will represent them in Washington."

Frank Sesno, director of the School of Media and Public Affairs at the George Washington University, and former CNN White House correspondent, anchor and Washington bureau chief, is serving as moderator.
Format of the Forum.

Each representative will occupy the stage exclusively for 30 minutes. During that time, they will have 10 minutes to present their party's vision for the future on disability policy in America and 20 minutes to respond to questions presented by Sesno. Questions for the session have been generated by the disability community. Each candidate has the opportunity to address such topics as employment, health care, long-term community-based services and supports, education, transportation, housing, and research.

A capacity crowd of 500 Americans with disabilities are attending the forum, while more than 2,000 have registered for the live webcast. Individuals interested in registering for the live webcast can do so at

More than 80 organizations are sponsoring the forum representing local and national partners and their members including Paralyzed Veterans of America, National Council on Independent Living, and the National Council on Aging.

For more information, visit

Joel Kessel
(614) 467-9083 (office); (773) 209-6125 (mobile)
[email protected]