In the News

GCDD Hosts 2018 Candidate Forum on Disability Issues in Atlanta on October 11

Featuring Candidates for Insurance Commissioner, School Superintendent, Secretary of State

September 24, 2018 To further its mission to advocate for people with disabilities and their families, the Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities (GCDD) hosts its 2018 GCDD Candidate Forum on Disability Issues on October 11 from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. The event will take place at the James H. “Sloppy” Floyd Building, Floyd Room, West Tower, at 200 Piedmont Avenue, Atlanta, Ga., 30334, and doors will open at 5 p.m. GCDD invites the public to register online to attend the free event by October 5. Space is limited, and registration is required.

Forum participants include candidates for the offices of Insurance Commissioner, School Superintendent and Secretary of State. Each of these offices oversees key aspects that affect the lives of Georgians with disabilities. These key issues include:

Insurance Commissioner

  • Access to affordable healthcare
  • Coverage for people with multiple diagnoses
  • Medicaid expansion

School Superintendent

  • Inclusive K-12 classrooms
  • The school-to-prison pipeline crisis
  • Transitional support of inclusive post-secondary education programs

Secretary of State

  • Accessible polling centers
  • Concise and easy-to-understand language on ballots
  • Easy-to-follow absentee ballot eligibility requirements and process
  • Other challenges that 1.3 million Georgians with disabilities face when trying to have their voices heard in the election process

Qualified, invited candidates include:

Insurance Commissioner

  • Janice Laws (D) – confirmed
  • Jim Beck (R)
  • Donnie Foster (I)

School Superintendent

  • Otha Thornton (D) – confirmed
  • Richard Woods (R) – confirmed
  • Sonia Francis-Rolle (Write-in) – confirmed

Secretary of State

  • John Barrow (D)
  • Brad Raffensperger (R) - confirmed
  • Smythe Duval (I) – confirmed

“The candidates we have invited are running for offices that have under their purview myriad issues important to our community,” said GCDD Executive Director Eric Jacobson. “Affordable health care, educational opportunities and voting access continue to present challenges for Georgians with disabilities, and we look forward to hearing how these candidates will work to overcome them.”

Guests must register to attend the event and may submit candidate questions online. Free parking is available adjacent to the James H. “Sloppy” Floyd Building, and the building is also accessible by MARTA. The Georgia Advocacy Office will present sample ballot and voting booth demonstrations for attendees, and complimentary, heavy hors d'oeuvres will be served. For updates about the 2018 GCDD Candidate Forum on Disability Issues, visit

About the Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities
The Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities (GCDD) is the state’s leader in advancing public policy on behalf of persons with developmental disabilities. Its mission is to bring about social and policy changes that promote opportunities for persons with developmental disabilities and their families to live, work, play and worship in Georgia communities. For more information, visit

The original article appeared in the Atlanta Daybook on Sep 24, 2018.