PRESS RELEASE: Deaf Republicans in Uproar Over Kerry “Endorsement”
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Deaf Republicans
Deaf Republicans in Uproar Over Kerry “Endorsement” DeafRepublicans Organization Condemns Statement By Kerry-Edwards Deaf and Hard of Hearing Group That Falsely Claims Support of 27 Million.
October 27, 2004 – LOS ANGELES - DeafRepublicans (www.DeafRepublicans.com), a national grassroots organization comprised of deaf and hard of hearingRepublicans issued a statement today in response to a press release issued bythe Kerry Edwards campaign on behalf of a group which purports to speak for theentire deaf and hard of hearing population in the U.S.
DeafRepublicans today repudiated recent statements by Gregory Hlibok, Co-Chair of the National Deaf and Hard of Hearing Americans for Kerry-Edwards SteeringCommittee, in which Hlibok claims his group “speaks to the confidence and commitment of America’s 27 million Americans with hearing loss have [sic] in John Kerry.” DeafRepublicans strenuously objects to this fictitious declaration of endorsement, and disputes their claim that John Kerry has a “proven record”on disabilities.
Richard Brklacich, of DeafRepublicans, today said in response to the statement released by the Kerry-Edwards Deaf and Hard of Hearing Steering Committee, “While they are entitled to their own opinions about their candidate, they are most certainly not at liberty to speak for the entire deaf and hard of hearing community, many of whom are active supporters and volunteers for the Bush-Cheney 2004 campaign and within the Republican Party”. Brklacich adds,“We take offense to their presumptuous claim of endorsement by a community that is as diverse in their ideas and beliefs as America’s general population. We call upon the Kerry-Edwards Committee to publicly acknowledge that they, in fact, do not speak for the entire deaf and hard of hearing community, and to admit that the only figure that they can safely count on with any degree of certainty to endorse Kerry is fourteen, the number of people in their committee”.
The members of DeafRepublicans take particular offense to the implication that all “27 million Americans with hearing loss” are securely within Kerry’s ‘win’column, and argues that this false perception has had the consequence of having the disability community’s issues and concerns largely neglected by an overly confident Democratic party. DeafRepublicans also observes that the inflated figure of “27 million” cited in the Kerry-Edwards release, which would include popular conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh who experienced the complete loss of his hearing three years ago, purports to speak for all Americans with even the mildest hearing loss, such as senior citizens, construction workers,musicians and airport ground maintenance workers.
DeafRepublicans points out that it was during a Republican Administration under President George H.W. Bush, that the landmark legislation, The American withDisabilities Act, was signed into law in 1990.
Other important Republican accomplishments on disability issues include:
• The Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (President Richard Nixon)
• Supplemental Security Disability Income (President Dwight D. Eisenhower)
• Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (President Gerald Ford)
• The New Freedom Initiative (President George W. Bush)
• Nationwide launch of 711 Relay Service for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (President George W. Bush)
• Nationwide launch of Video Relay Services for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (President George W. Bush)
• The No Child Left Behind Act , which increased funding for IDEA special education funds by 59% since 2001 to $10.1 billion. (President George W. Bush)
• The implementation of The Ticket to Work Act which enabled SSI and SSDI recipients to obtain job training and health care coverage while preparing to re-enter the workforce. (President George W. Bush)
John Kerry’s paltry record on disabilities, however, stands in stark contrast to the many noteworthy accomplishments of his opponent, President George W. Bush. In his 20-year Senate history, John Kerry has failed to sponsor or create asingle piece of legislation that relates to the issue of disabilities that successfully passed the Senate. Of the nine disability-related Senate bills for which John Kerry claims credit, all died in committee except one that passed: The Americans with Disabilities Act, written by Senator Tom Harkin and co-sponsored by a bi-partisan group of sixty-three Republican and Democratic senators (which included John Kerry), and signed into law by President GeorgeH.W. Bush, a Republican President.
“In fact, the only impressive thing about John Kerry's record on disabilityissues is the fact that he does not even have one,” said Richard Brklacich,“John Kerry introduced over 300 bills but passed only 5, none having anythingto do with issues relating to disability.”
DeafRepublicans ask each and every disabled American to take a close look at both candidates, and to vote on November 2nd for the only presidential candidate with a real record on disability-rights: George W. Bush.
Deaf Republicans is a grassroots organization formed to foster the principles and values of the Republican Party within the deaf and hard of hearing community. The mission of Deaf Republicans is to build a national grassroots network within the deaf and hard of hearing community through which Republican ideals and beliefs can be articulated and embraced. Deaf Republicans believe that for our issues and concerns to be heard by politicians, the deaf and hard of hearing community must be represented on both sides of the political spectrum. Deaf Republicans will seek to develop and nurture relationships between the deaf and hard of hearing community and Republican leaders.
DeafRepublicans recently launched their new website, and plans to unveil, on each day leading up to Election Day on November 2, 2004, a new webpage, followed by an e-mail campaign, dedicated to issues important to the deaf and hard of hearing community in this PresidentialCampaign.