Disability Group Targets Senate Candidate Who Questioned ADA
A newly formed political fund-raising group supporting disability-friendly candidates is taking aim at Rand Paul, a Senate candidate from Kentucky who publicly questioned the Americans with Disabilities Act.
The Disability Power & Pride Political Action Committee, or PAC, is planning an event later this month to raise cash for Paul’s opponent, Jack Conway, a Democrat.
The nonpartisan PAC, which formed in July, is believed to be the first to finance political candidates who support disability issues. The group’s leaders say they are targeting the Senate race in Kentucky specifically because of remarks that Paul made earlier this year questioning whether the Americans with Disabilities Act is an overreach of federal government.
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“I think a lot of things could be handled locally,” Paul, a Republican, said in an interview on NPR’s All Things Considered in May. “I think if you have a two-story office and you hire someone who’s handicapped, it might be reasonable to let him have an office on the first floor rather than the government saying you have to have a $100,000 elevator. And I think when you get to the solutions like that, the more local the better, and the more common sense the decisions are, rather than having a federal government make those decisions.”
In an e-mail sent to PAC supporters early this week, organizers said they hoped to raise at least $15,000 for Conway’s campaign. Before sending the e-mail the group had already secured $10,000 in commitments.
“Our community can’t afford to have someone with Rand Paul’s convictions in the United States Senate nor a candidate getting away with what he is saying,” the e-mail reads. “If we allow him to win it will mean that future candidates can bash the ADA without fear.”
The PAC’s first fund-raiser, which supported Rep. Jim Langevin, D-R.I., who has quadriplegia, netted $8,500 from 45 donors. Organizers say they expect to raise about $20,000 this time around.
Conway is ahead of Paul in fund-raising, according to the most recent campaign finance filings with the Federal Election Commission. As of the end of June, Conway had more than $700,000 on hand versus about $320,000 for Paul.