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Dubuque father, son subject of question during Democratic presidential debate

Bill and Kyle Stumpf of Dubuque were the subject of a democratic presidential debate question...
Bill and Kyle Stumpf of Dubuque were the subject of a democratic presidential debate question about helping people with disabilities enter the workforce. (Charlie Grant, KCRG)(KCRG)
Published: Dec. 20, 2019 at 5:22 PM CST
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A father and son from Dubuque were the focus of one question during Thursday night's Democratic presidential debate.

Politico's chief political correspondent, Tim Alberta, talked about meeting Bill and Kyle Stumpf. Kyle was born with down syndrome and Alberta told the candidates about Kyle's employment with a pizza place. Alberta asked the presidential candidates to outline specific steps the government could take to integrate people with disabilities into the workforce.

The Stumpfs were stunned to hear their names during the debate.

Kyle has worked at Papa John's in Dubuque for five years and he and his dad are advocates for including people with disabilities in the workplace.

They've met almost every Democratic presidential candidate, and they've asked each one about how they would support people with disabilities. They've had dinner with Kirsten Gillibrand, who has since dropped out of the presidential race, and Bill says they spoke with Pete Buttigieg over the phone a few weeks ago.

With national recognition, they feel like their work is paying off.

"It was just pretty cool, wasn't it, getting on TV," Bill said to Kyle. "Our phone started exploding, and it was pretty cool. And Kyle was kind of consoling me more because I was stunned by the whole thing."

The pair have also spent time in Washington D.C. advocating for people with disabilities.

Bill said, "People with disabilities want to work and they can work and Kyle’s kind of proof of that."

Bill says he and Kyle met Alberta at a private event in Dubuque. He's thankful he brought up the topic on a national stage and hopes the conversation continues.