Rutherford, Takano to Chair Congressional Deaf Caucus

September 30, 2019
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, on the final day of Deaf Awareness Month, Congressman John Rutherford (FL-04) announces his appointment as co-chair of the Congressional Deaf Caucus. He joins Co-chair Representative Mark Takano (CA-41) in leading the bipartisan Congressional Deaf Caucus, which bridges the communication divide between Members of Congress and their deaf and hard of hearing constituents. The caucus also works to advocate for legislative policies focused on the deaf community and to empower these individuals by promoting equal access for all.

“Deaf individuals experience many unique challenges in their everyday lives,” said Rutherford. “It is our job as representatives to ensure America's laws and resources properly reflect our commitment to equity and opportunity. I look forward to working in a bipartisan way with Co-chair Takano and the entire caucus to advocate and raise awareness for the deaf community.”

“Being Deaf or Hard of Hearing should not be an impediment to working in Congress or helping advance the policy issues that you care about,” said Takano. “I represent the California School for the Deaf and a vibrant Deaf and Hard of Hearing community, and I helped found this Caucus in 2013 to bridge the communications gap between Members and their Deaf constituents — I’m glad to see that this effort is only getting stronger. Thank you to Rep. Rutherford for teaming up with me to lead this caucus. This Congress, we will continue to celebrate Deaf talent, raise awareness of the contributions and needs of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing community, and work to ensure that all Americans have equal access to their government.”

In partnership with Gallaudet University, the Congressional Deaf Caucus also promotes the expansion of a Congressional Deaf Internship program on Capitol Hill. Currently, Congressman Rutherford is proud to host James Groff as an intern in his Washington, D.C. office. James, who is DeafBlind, graduated from Jacksonville's Fletcher High School and is now pursuing a Master of Public Administration at Gallaudet University. Congressman Rutherford recently visited the students and teachers at the Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind (FSDB) in St. Augustine. The only school of its kind in Florida, FSDB provides tuition-free Pre-K and K-12 education and outreach services for nearly 1,000 students each year who are deaf/hard of hearing, blind/visually impaired, or DeafBlind.