The 2014 Midterm Elections are over and APSE would like to provide our members, and others in the disability advocacy community, with information about the results and the importance of building new partnerships with newly elected legislators! The nationwide voter turnout was just 36.4%, down from 40.9% in the 2010 midterms and the lowest since the 1942 elections, when just 33.9% of voters turned out, though that election came during the middle of World War II.
A few of the details of the recent midterm elections:
- Republicans have gained 8 seats in the Senate, giving them control of the chamber (53 to 44);
- Republicans have also strengthened their majority by gaining 12 new seats in the House (243 to 186);
- The Gubernatorial elections were held in 36 states and three territories, resulting in a net gain of 3 Republican governors (32 to 18); and lastly,
- The State legislative elections were held in 46 states with a total of 6049 seats up for election (82 percent of the total number of state legislative seats in the United States). Republicans won control of several legislative chambers, including both chambers of the Nevada Legislature, the West Virginia House of Representatives, New Hampshire House of Representatives, the Minnesota House of Representatives, the New York Senate, the Maine Senate, the Colorado Senate, the Washington Senate, and the New Mexico House of Representatives. The election left Democrats controlling the smallest number of state legislatures in the party’s history since the Great Depression. 1
What does a new Republican controlled U.S. House and Senate mean for you?
- The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee will have a new chair, either Senator Alexander (R-TN) or Senator Enzi (R-WY), both of whom have previous experience as ranking member of the HELP Committee;
- With the long-time disability rights leader Senator Harkin retiring, Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) will be the most likely replacement for the ranking member of the HELP Committee; and
- The U.S. House of Representatives’ Education and the Workforce Committee will continue to be chaired by Representative John Kline (R-MN) and Representative Bobby Scott (D-VA) is the most likely ranking member for the 114th Congress;
As you can tell, we have lost a few of our strongest leaders in Senator Tom Harkin and Representative George Miller from the House Education and the Workforce Committee. It is very important to establish connections with the new leaders with jurisdiction over our issues! Additionally, we ask all APSE members to begin making connections with your new delegates to ensure that disability is part of the workforce strategies!
Identifying your Representatives!
Effective advocacy requires you to know who represents you in the various areas of government. These leaders work for you and you should be able to identify them. Go to the websites below to identify the people that represent you.
- U.S. House and Senate
- House of Representatives: http://www.house.gov/Welcome.shtml
- United States Senate: http://senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm
- State Government
- State Legislators: http://thomas.loc.gov/home/state-legislatures.html
- Governor: http://www.usa.gov/Contact/Governors.shtml
APSE is a national bi-partisan organization with an exclusive focus on integrated employment and career advancement opportunities for individuals with disabilities. In order to advance Employment First, we must establish connections federal, state, and local policy makers to increase funding for integrated employment and to raise awareness to the benefits of hiring individuals with disabilities.
Visit APSE’s Legislative Toolkit for more information legislative advocacy approaches and resources to assist you in developing your communications.
- United States elections, 2014. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_elections,_2014