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Presidential Forum To Address Disability Issues


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A CNN veteran is set to moderate a one-of-a-kind presidential forum later this month focused on disability issues.

The event sponsored by more than 50 disability organizations from across the country is being billed as the only one of the presidential campaign to look exclusively at the candidates’ views on issues pertaining to Americans with disabilities.

Known as the National Forum on Disability Issues, the gathering is set to take place Sept. 28 at the Hyatt Regency in Columbus, Ohio.

President Barack Obama and Republican nominee Mitt Romney have been invited to participate in the forum, though neither has committed yet, according to organizers. A similar event in 2008 featured Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, speaking on behalf of then-candidate Obama. The Republican nominee that year, Sen. John McCain, participated via satellite.

This year’s forum will be moderated by Frank Sesno, a former CNN White House correspondent who now serves as the director of the School of Media and Public Affairs at The George Washington University.

Unlike a debate, the disability forum will feature each candidate — or their representative — on stage for 30 minutes at a time. They will have 10 minutes to outline their vision and will be expected to respond to prepared questions presented by Sesno for the remaining 20 minutes on topics ranging from employment to transportation, housing and education, organizers say.

“It’s a unique opportunity because it’s the only national event focused specifically on people with disabilities and we think it’s really important that their voices be heard,” said Kaelan Richards of United Cerebral Palsy who is part of the event’s planning committee.

Free tickets are available for the forum, which is expected to draw a maximum-capacity crowd of 500. The event will also be available remotely via a live webcast to those who register in advance.

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Comments (10 Responses)

  1. Laura Whiteside says:

    It should be aired on CSPAN. Suggestion: Contact CSPAN and get it on the air.

  2. Michelle says:

    Can’t wait!! I hope they attend! To be honest, as a mom of a child with a disability, I couldn’t tell you where either one stood. I know a rough estimate but nothing definite and I got under two months to figure out who to vote for.

  3. theSeed says:

    So if President Obama and Romney haven’t committed yet, who’s going to be there??

  4. Hangn n says:

    This will be a lot of nothing…….If Obama stays in office, the health care will deteriorate even more. In the last 3 years, my son (adult/autism) has lost the eye care, dental, and can have up to 3 therapy sessions per year. So, let’s get Obama out of office so we can get back the services we had.

  5. L. Eley Driggers says:

    Write, Email, call or hollar at the Prez and his wanna-be that they need to be at event and in person. And go vote!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  6. Sheila Kuders says:

    I have three young adults diagnosed with autism/PPD and concurring thought disorder. One of them was lucky enough to get adult services, the other two are getting nothing but waiting lists. I don’t see the individual states being able to eliminate waiting lists without Federal Government intervention that would provide supplemental funding. Sadly, I don’t see the current political campaign platforms addressing the issue lack of services for people with intellectual and mental disabilities. Hopefully, the forum will shine some light on it and hope that both candidates will commit to finding solutions.

  7. Vicki Niswander says:

    I think this is a great event to attend and to sponsor, but it may be more helpful to have a forum where candidates listen instead of talk.

  8. JR says:

    To Hangn n: Medicaid is a shared Federal/State program. Dental and vision services are “optional” under Medicaid that states can choose to provide or not. That those services were cut reveals one of the weaknesses of Medicaid, but the decision was not Obama’s to make.

  9. Peggy Yacoben says:

    I would like to know why we are considering cutting any benefits to our most fragile Citizens while we continue to send Aid to foreign Countries and allow more non-Citizens to receive benefits in our Country?What would each Candidate do to prioritize where the cuts to services should come from first?I would like to know how each Candidate would feel if this was happening to their Children or Elderly loved one?I would also like to know how they feel about the situation in Florida of Warehousing the disabled children on Medicaid in Nursing Homes and separating them from their families some,for as long as Three Yrs now from birth.

  10. Mary Lucyk says:

    I have a child with down’s syndrome and autism. The public school does not have the proper classroom for him. I am unable to get funding for private school. There isn’t any place for him to go. I can’t get the help and services I need for him. I need someone who can help with my situation. I don’t know where to turn.

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