Running for Office with a Speech Disability

Flyer in yellow and green with the words "Running for Office with a Speech Disability: A live webinar: December 15, 2021, 2:30-4:00 pm ET." Circular headshots of Coleman Watson, 2022 US Senate Candidate (a smiling, dark-haired Black man wearing a suit); India Ochs, 2020 School Board Candidate (a smiling, brown-haired White woman wearing a colorful top); Sascha Bittner, Guest Moderator (a smiling, auburn-haired White-appearing woman wearing a red and black top); and Angelica Vega, Guest Moderator (a smiling, black-haired Afro-Latina woman wearing a black and white top), with the green, black and white CommunicationFIRST logo at the bottomHave you ever thought about running for political office? Heres your chance to hear from four people with speech-related disabilities about their experiences running for elected office and otherwise being active in electoral politics.

Register here for this one-of-a-kind, 90-minute, live webinar on December 15, 2021, at 2:30 pm ET.

AAC users and others with speech disabilities should submit their burning questions in advance. Here are some we’ll be sure to cover:

  • How has your speech disability influenced you as an activist as well as a candidate and potential elected official?   
  • How has the public responded -- good, bad or ugly -- to your candidacy?   
  • Knowing what you know now, what would you say to other people with speech disabilities thinking about running and serving in public office?   
  • How has your speech disability affected your campaign strategy?  Do you  use more printed materials?
  • What have been the disadvantages of running with a speech disability or as an AAC user?
  • What are the advantages of running with a speech disability/AAC user?
  • How have organizers of forums and debates accommodated your disability, have you had to educate people? How did that go?

Our panelists will include four people with speech-related disabilities, including India Ochs and Coleman Watson, who have both run for elected office, and Sascha Bittner and Angelica Vega, who have both been active in politics and elections.

When Ms. Ochs ran for School Board in Maryland, she became (to our knowledge) the first full-time AAC user to have run for elected office in the United States. Mr. Watson was motivated by his aphasia to run for the US Senate in his home state of Florida. Ms. Bittner is active in California politics, including serving as an electoral delegate. Ms. Vega has interned on Capitol Hill and with Emily’s List.

Accessibility features will include ASL, real-time captioning, and the Zoom Q&A function. Questions or accommodation requests should be submitted as soon as possible but no later than December 14, 2021, to info@communicationfirst.org.

Register in advance here: https://us06web.zoom.us/webinar/register/4516387392308/WN_dbBM2B6qSiScwT32HkUwCQ

DISCLAIMER: This is a strictly nonpartisan event and should not be construed to be an endorsement of any political party or the candidacy of any participant.