HOW WE ARRIVED
A Brief History
Our History Begins...
On September 24, 2014, a coalition of disability organizations held the first Texas Disability Issues Forum. For the first time in Texas history, major party candidates for the offices of Governor, Lt. Governor, and Attorney General were invited to a disability-focused event to address the public policy concerns of this community.
Each of the Democratic candidates, Senator Wendy Davis for Governor, Senator Leticia Van de Putte for Lt. Governor, and Sam Houston for Attorney General, participated and spoke with independent moderator Ben Philpott about their disability issue platforms. The Republican candidates for these offices were also invited, though they did not participate.
320+ people packed our venue, and channel Austin broadcast TDIF to local television and virtual livestreams. With extensive media coverage and the support of 50 co-host disability organizations, we succeeded in boosting public awareness of disability issues during the 2014 election cycle. Learn more about the first TDIF here.
Progress is Made
With the support of media partner, the Texas Tribune, and 77 co-host organizations, TDIF returned in 2018, on August 27. Each of the Democratic candidates we invited—Beto O’Rourke for Senator, Lupe Valdez for Governor, Mike Collier for Lt. Governor, and Justin Nelson for Attorney General—attended. We received survey responses from these candidates as well as Governor Greg Abbott, running for re-election. The Republican candidates for these offices were also invited to participate.
In 2018, 400 attendees joined us in Austin, while channelAustin’s team of media professionals broadcast the Forum through our media partner, the Texas Tribune’s website and on Facebook Live. Watch parties took place from El Paso to Corpus Christi, and was viewed more than 11,000 times. The recording is still available for viewing.