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Elections Are a Mixed Bag for Disabled

November 3 2010 | by

Jim Langevin shakes hands with Obama

Many local, state and national level positions were up for grab last night. Republicans captured the House but fell short in the Senate. Republicans scored the biggest party turnover in more than 70 years with their win in the House and, in doing so, will boot Democratic Rep. Nancy Pelosi, who became the first female Speaker of the House four years ago.

For many people with disabilities, Election Day is a form of advocacy. There are 35 million Americans with disabilities of voting age, and 25 million are registered to vote. Tuesday’s results could have ramifications for national healthcare reform, among other issues pertinent to the disability population.

Rhode Island Representative Jim Langevin won a sixth term in Congress. Langevin is a Democrat who is paralyzed from the chest down due to a gunfire accident as a teenager. He’s the only quadriplegic in the U.S. House of Representatives and has been a vocal proponent of stem cell research. He also presided over the House for the first time last year to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

In South Dakota, Republican Dennis Daugaard, a Child of Deaf Adults, or CODA, was elected as the new governor.

In Connecticut, the governorship went to Dan Malloy, who has dyslexia.

Rand Paul, a Republican and Tea Party favorite, won the Senate seat for the state of Kentucky, and says he wants to “take the government back.” The Senator-to-be has denounced the Americans with Disabilities Act and said businesses to provide access to disabled people isn’t “fair to the business owner.”

Measures also passed in several states, including Missouri, Louisiana and Virginia to grant property tax breaks to disabled veterans or former war prisoners. Other states, like Florida, already had this measure in place.

Republicans captured the governorship in at least 10 states, and a handful of minorities now have the seats. Republican Susana Martinez, will become the New Mexico‘s governor and the nation’s first Hispanic female governor. Republican state Rep. Nikki Haley will become the South Carolina governor and the nation’s second Indian-American governor. Republican Brian Sandoval will become Nevada‘s first Hispanic governor. In Michigan, governor Rick Snyder’ wife, Sue, is a breast cancer survivor.

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