Tom Harkin To Co-Host DNC Chair Forum On Disability Community Inclusion

As the race for Democratic National Convention chair enters into the final stretch in February, many branches of the party are hosting forums with the seven major contenders. The national party’s Disability Caucus plans on hosting a virtual forum this upcoming Sunday, February 12th, at 7:00 pm CST.

Former Iowa Senator Tom Harkin and former California Senator Tom Coelho will co-host the discussion. They were the co-sponsors of the Americans with Disabilities Act, passed back in 1990.

Iowa’s Catherine Crist is also playing a key role in organizing and moderating the forum. She’s the national co-chair of the Association of Democratic Disability Caucuses, as well as the chair of Iowa’s Disability Caucus.

Seven of the DNC candidates are scheduled to participate: Sally Boynton Brown of Idaho, Raymond Buckley of New Hampshire, Pete Buttigieg of Indiana, Keith Ellison of Minnesota, Jehmu Greene of Texas, Jaime Harrison of South Carolina and Tom Perez of Maryland.

The forum will be held through a conference call, which will use the CART system (a real-time captioning service for people with certain disabilities). It’ll last 90 minutes and give the candidates a chance to lay out their ideas on how to build an inclusive party and take questions from the call attendees. Advocates are particularly interested in encouraging the DNC contenders to develop plans to better involve people with disabilities in the party, as well as ensure Democrats actively campaign for their community’s vote.

People interested in signing up for the call can do so here, but they have to register by Wednesday night. Those who want to use the CART system should then email

The DNC convenes a meeting on February 23 to vote for the next chair.


by Pat Rynard
Posted 2/6/17

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