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Greg Abbott is not an advocate for people with disabilities

Didn’t think this was in question, but let’s review the facts again.

Still not Greg Abbott

“I really strongly believe, and I think most people who are advocates for people with disabilities believe, that a disability is neither a barrier nor an advantage in potentially serving as governor of Texas,” [Dennis Borel of the Coalition of Texans with Disabilities] said. “It’s kind of not that relevant.”

What’s relevant is an Abbott proposal to increase the pay for personal attendants who help people with disabilities live in the community, an idea Borel likes.

What’s relevant is a legal issue that Borel has pressed Abbott on since his announcement last year: If elected governor, would he support a proposal to waive Texas’ claims of sovereign immunity in lawsuits brought against the state alleging violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act, so people can get their day in court?

Abbott – who as attorney general has asserted the state’s immunity – said no last year through a campaign spokesman. His answer hasn’t changed.

“Granted to the states by the 11th Amendment, General Abbott believes sovereign immunity is not a concept that should be treated casually. It must be vigorously defended, which is consistent with his absolute duty to defend the state of Texas whether he is attorney general or governor,” said spokesman Matt Hirsch last year.

Asked the same sovereign-immunity question, Davis campaign spokesman Zac Petkanas gave only a general answer. “Wendy Davis believes all Texans should be protected from discrimination. She has worked to improve educational and economic opportunities for people with disabilities and will continue to prioritize those issues as governor.”

Borel and other activists expect another chance to press the issue with Davis. She has met with them personally, he said, and has agreed to take part in the Texas Disability Issues Forum co-hosted in Austin by advocacy groups on Sept. 24.

Abbott has declined to attend the forum, “and he has known about it for a very long time,” said Borel. He said he has met with Abbott’s policy director on issues.

Not sure why Davis gave such a non-committal answer to the question, but she has since clarified her position on the matter.

State Sen. Wendy Davis says if she’s elected governor, she’ll support legislation to make it easier for people with disabilities to get their day in court when they’re alleging state violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Responding to a survey by the Coalition of Texans with Disabilities, Davis said she would support legislation to waive the state’s sovereign immunity in such cases.

“The ADA is a milestone civil rights law. The majority of states do not seek sovereign immunity from the ADA. Texans with disabilities should feel as secure in their right to be free from discrimination based on disability as people in any other state,” said Davis.

So there you have it. Abbott’s record and position are clear. So are Davis’. This is a no-brainer. Do you still want more evidence of this? Here you go.

More than 50 disability rights advocacy groups and Texas nonprofits have banded together to try to mobilize the state’s more than 3 million disabled residents to vote on Nov. 4.

The groups have created a website promoting a Texas Disability Issues Forum, which will be held in Austin next week.

So far, only Democratic hopefuls seeking the top three statewide offices on the fall ballot have agreed to appear at the Sept. 24 event.

GOP nominees for governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general — Attorney General Greg Abbott and state Sens. Dan Patrick and Ken Paxton, respectively — have declining the invitation, citing scheduling conflicts, said event organizer Bob Kafka of ADAPT of Texas.

“We can’t force them to come,” he said at a Capitol news conference.

Organizers, though, have offered to let the let candidates citing schedule conflicts to participate using videoconferencing technology, Kafka said. Organizers also told the GOP candidates’ campaigns that they would let the absentee candidates tape an appearance at an earlier date, he said. Forum moderator Ben Philpott, a political reporter with Austin’s public radio station KUT-FM, would interview them “under the same type of setting,” Kafka said.

“We’re disappointed,” he said, noting the forum is a nonpartisan effort.

Here’s their website; the link is FUBAR’ed in the Trail Blazers post. I freely admit my partisan biases here, but it seems to me that the more these folks vote for Republicans in November, the more they will continue to be disappointed. The Statesman has more.

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