President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney will both send surrogates to represent them later this week at a one-of-a-kind presidential forum focused on disability issues.
U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., will speak on behalf of Romney and Edward M. Kennedy, Jr. will represent Obama at the National Forum on Disability Issues this Friday in Columbus, Ohio, event organizers said.
McMorris Rodgers has a son with Down syndrome and has made disability issues a centerpiece of her work in Congress. Kennedy is the son of the late U.S. senator and serves on the board of the American Association of People with Disabilities.
The forum is sponsored by more than 80 organizations from across the country and is being promoted as the only event of the presidential campaign to exclusively address issues of interest to the disability community. McMorris Rodgers and Kennedy will each appear for 30 minutes to offer their party’s vision and answer questions presented by Frank Sesno, a former CNN White House correspondent, who will moderate the event.
In addition to the presidential candidates, those vying to represent Ohio in the U.S. Senate were also invited to speak at the forum. Thus far, Democratic state Rep. Nancy Garland has confirmed that she will speak on behalf of U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio.
A full house of 500 is expected at the event and more than 2,000 people have already registered to watch a live webcast, organizers say.