Election 2020: Policy contributions to political platforms

November 30, 2020

Throughout the long 2020 presidential election campaign, Heller researchers made social policy contributions to various candidates' platforms, addressing issues from disability rights to student loan debt.

Lurie Institute researchers engage, critique and consult on presidential disability policy plans

  • April 1, 2019: Before any candidate released a disability plan, Research Associate Robyn Powell, PhD’20, first raised the issue of establishing a disability policy adviser with Democratic National Committee chair Tom Perez during his visit to Heller.
  • Nov. 14, 2019: Research Associate Sandy Ho hosted a Twitter Town Hall with Julián Castro. Disability rights activist Rebecca Cokley called it a first — a forum moderated by a person with a disability that gave people with disabilities across the country an opportunity to connect directly with a presidential candidate.
  • March 3, 2020: Visiting Scholar Ari Ne’eman, who served on President Obama’s National Council on Disability and consulted with Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren on their presidential campaigns, said in Spectrum, “In this [election] cycle, I think we’ve probably come further than we have ever before” on disability policy.

IASP research informs Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s student loan plan

Sen. Warren’s bold student loan forgiveness plan, which would have canceled student loans for 42 million Americans and significantly reduced racial disparities in student debt, drew extensively from an Institute on Assets and Social Policy study called “Stalling Dreams: How Student Debt Is Disrupting Life Chances and Widening the Racial Wealth Gap.” She cited critical statistics from the IASP report, including:

  • Half of Black borrowers and a third of Latinx borrowers default on their loans within 20 years
  • Twenty years after starting college, the median white borrower owes just $1,000, while the median Black borrower owes an average of $18,500

research impact highlightsThis story is part of the 2020 Heller Social Policy Impact Report, showcasing a selection of high-impact research and public engagement from the faculty, researchers and students of the Heller School for Social Policy and Management from July 2019 through June 2020.

Also in the News

The forgotten frontline workers

January 21, 2021

Christine Bishop, the Atran Professor of Labor Economics, and Karen Donelan, the Stuart H. Altman Chair in U.S. Health Policy, provide unique perspectives on the precarious world of nursing home workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

2020 asks us: If not now, when?

January 21, 2021

Dean David Weil shares reflections on the challenges Heller has faced during 2020 and how the Heller community must step up to address the critical social policy issues of the world today.

Reimagining policing in America

January 21, 2021

Heller students and alumni work to advance policies and programs for racial equity, police accountability and community safety across the country.

News Archive →