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.