Braille Monitor                         November 2020

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Protecting and Expanding the Right of the Blind to Live in the World: The Report from the Advocacy and Policy Department

by John Paré, Jeff Kaloc, and Stephanie Flynt

From the Editor: Because of time constraints, we were not able to listen to the report of our advocacy and policy team during our 2020 National Convention. What follows is a report from the fine folks who make up our advocacy and policy group. John Paré begins the presentation after this introduction by President Riccobono:

Our advocacy and policy team works on a daily basis to amplify and coordinate the advocacy activities of our affiliates across the country. They help us stay plugged in, connected to all the right places, and make sure that we synthesize the tremendous resources that we have to get the agenda of blind Americans accomplished in the Congress as well as helping with local legislators here. To kick off our advocacy report is a gentleman who brings as much heart and determination as anybody in the National Federation of the Blind to our work. He makes sure that our name is as well-known as any other and certainly better known than most in Washington, DC, and beyond. Here is the executive director for advocacy and policy, John Paré:

John ParéJOHN PARÉ: Thank you, President Riccobono, and good afternoon Federation family. The National Federation of the Blind is composed of members who are imaginative, supportive, and determined. When we formed our organization eighty years ago, we found that the broader community dismissed us as irrelevant. They believed the blind were not capable of speaking for ourselves, but this did not stop us. In the 1990s, we challenged the federal government when it said that we could not have federal jobs, and we beat them. In the 1970s, we won the right of blind employees in sheltered workshops to organize and bargain with management about wages and working conditions. In the 1990s, when leaders of the United States House of Representatives tried to merge vocational rehabilitation services with human services programs, we just said “no” and beat them on the House floor. These three victories are just a few examples of the power of the organized blind movement. Our 2020 Washington Seminar was no exception. Representative Bobby Scott, chairman of the powerful committee on education and labor, spoke at our Great Gathering-In. We had fifteen members of Congress speak at our Congressional Reception, and we picked up forty-six cosponsors across our legislation. We were steadily working on our legislative agenda, making the voice of the organized blind movement heard on Capitol Hill and in our local communities. Then on March 11, the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic. As the threat of COVID-19 took hold, President Riccobono took decisive action. On March 13, he postponed all in-person Federation meetings, and on March 23, the Jernigan Institute was closed. But the National Federation of the Blind is composed of members who are supportive, imaginative, and determined. We found ways to continue the work of the Federation. Our programs were adapted, our advocacy efforts intensified, and our commitment to our Federation family deepened. Chapter meetings were moved to Zoom calls, the BELL Academy was changed to the in-home edition, and our national convention is still occurring. Most importantly, our members continue to communicate with each other to discuss ways of persevering through the COVID-19 pandemic.

When the CARES [Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security] Act was passed, our members began an intensive effort to educate each other on the Economic Impact Payments, expanded unemployment insurance, and the effects these programs might have on Social Security Disability Insurance [SSDI] and Supplemental Security Income [SSI]. Through it all, we continue to educate our elected leaders on legislation that would, when passed, improve the lives of blind Americans. We explained the Access Technology Affordability Act was needed more than ever to help blind students who are now learning from home, how it would help blind people look for and apply for jobs, and how it would help us maintain our self-sufficiency in this time of mandatory social distancing. Our cosponsor count grew rapidly, and we are now up to 112 cosponsors in the House and twenty-three in the Senate. We also asked Congress to eliminate the five-month waiting period for eligible SSDI recipients and the corresponding twenty-four-month waiting period for Medicare benefits. Eliminating these waiting periods permanently is a good idea; eliminating them during the COVID-19 pandemic is even more crucial. On July 24 Representative Jan Schakowsky of Illinois introduced the Greater Access and Independence through Nonvisual Access Technology Act (HR 3929). We are working to secure a Senate champion. This bill establishes a minimum nonvisual access standard for home use medical devices, home appliances, and fitness equipment. It currently has twenty-eight cosponsors in the house. On December 5, 2019, Representatives Roe and Courtney introduced the Accessible Instructional Material in Higher Education Act, and on December 18, Senator Warren introduced companion legislation in the Senate. The House bill currently has forty-three cosponsors, and the Senate bill has eight. We hope to either pass this legislation as a standalone bill or as a component of higher education reauthorization.

We continue to advocate for the passage of the Transformation to Competitive Employment Act. As I mentioned, Chairman Bobby Scott spoke at our Great Gathering-In and said that subminimum wages are outdated and discriminatory. Furthermore, he said “Ending section 14(c) of the Fair Labor Standards Act is a critical civil rights issue that deserves our nation’s attention.” We could not agree more. The House bill has sixty cosponsors, and the Senate bill has seven.
Now, let’s take a minute to talk about NFB-NEWSLINE®. At the beginning of the pandemic, when information about COVID-19 was more difficult to obtain, we added a special “Search” feature to NFB-NEWSLINE to help subscribers find COVID-19 breaking news. We also added COVID-19 statistics from Johns Hopkins University, and in order to make sure that all blind Americans had access to this information, President Riccobono temporarily extended the NFB-NEWSLINE service to all non-sponsored states. The National Federation of the Blind has also contracted with Deloitte Consulting to analyze NFB-NEWSLINE, the news industry, and trends in media consumption. We will be using this information to determine what enhancements are made to the service. Thank you to everyone who participated in our survey.

We have recently integrated the core elements of the KNFB Reader into the NFB-NEWSLINE Mobile App. We are currently having some problems with that. We hope to rectify these problems and reissue the beta and the actual production app in the next few weeks. So, stay tuned for that.

NFB-NEWSLINE serves more than 123,000 subscribers, and it has over five-hundred publications. On average, we receive 5,226 calls every day. And some portion of NFB-NEWSLINE is accessed every 1.8 seconds. The weather portion of the service includes detailed seven-day forecasts, emergency alerts, and other useful information such as air quality and heat index. The TV listings include programming for every broadcast and cable provider, channel mappings for your specific cable or satellite provider, and information on audio description. The job listings include every job listed on CareerBuilder and USA Jobs. Don’t forget that you can now also access NFB-NEWSLINE on any of the Amazon family of products.

When I think of imagination, support, and determination, I think of the members of the National Federation of the Blind. It is our imagination that has helped us create opportunities and find solutions when none were apparent. In our support of each other, we have built a community that is there for us in good times and bad. It is our determination that drives us every day in our relentless pursuit of equality. Our bonds of friendship have made a lasting impact on the history of the Federation.

As the American playwright, Tennessee Williams once said, “Life is partly what we make it and partly what is made by the friends we choose.” I am honored to count all of you as my friends. I am strengthened by our commitment to each other during this pandemic. I am proud of what we have accomplished together. And I look forward to working with all of you as we build our future and live the lives we want. Let’s build the National Federation of the Blind.

Alright, fellow Federationists, we’re gonna move to the two specialists that helped so much in coordinating all of our work on Capitol Hill. It’s really our teamwork, our fifty thousand plus members, your advocacy happening in the Capitol and in the local districts—coordinated with the work we do in Baltimore and in talking in detail to staff members on the Hill—that makes us the success we are. Our first specialist is going to be Jeff Kaloc. He’s the newest member of our staff. He used to work as a staff member on Capitol Hill, so he’s been on the other side of the table as we talk to people. Please welcome Jeff Kaloc.

JEFF KALOC: Thank you, fellow Federationists. This is my first time addressing you, and it is wonderful to have this opportunity and to work on behalf of the National Federation of the Blind. I feel passionate about the issues I’ll bring to you today, and it is your passion that will bring them to fruition. So, let me get started on my list.

The Access Technology Affordability Act will provide a refundable tax credit for blind people purchasing specific assistive technology. You know about the specifics of the act from our fact sheets and the write-up in the Braille Monitor, so let me start with what you may not know. We are doing well, but your support is critical because we don’t want to lose out on the skills of any blind person, for it is a tragedy when anyone’s potential and productivity go to waste. Right now we’re gaining momentum with this bill. We have 128 cosponsors in the House and twenty-six in the Senate. Out of those 128 in the House, seventy-nine are Democrats and forty-nine are Republicans. But announcing party affiliation doesn’t fully express the diversity of the support we have attracted. We have members who are progressive as well as those who belong to the Freedom Caucus. This speaks volumes in demonstrating that this is a solution to a problem that does not have partisan distinction. This is something that every American can support and should support. Right now we have so much momentum that this legislation has the interest and the support of both Chairman Neal and Chairman Grassley. In addition to that, the bill was recognized at the House Subcommittee on Select Revenue Measures by Chairman Mike Thompson. During that hearing, the members were discussing COVID-19 and how it affects families and workers during these harsh economic times. Chairman Thompson mentioned this bill not only during that hearing but in his opening statements, which just goes to show the importance of this bill and how not only will it impact the economy but also how it helps workers during these tough times caused by the pandemic.

In order to push this bill further, though, we need your support. We need you to contact your members of Congress. We need you to call them, we need you to email them, or even schedule a conference call using Zoom to express the importance of this bill. Tell them not only how it would affect your life in normal times but stress the unique nature of this pandemic. We know that right now many people are working remotely and that students are learning remotely. It’s critical that this technology is at their disposal so that they can continue to be productive.

As John mentioned previously, this is a group effort. We can’t do this on our own. We need you to contact your representatives and your senators and urge them to cosponsor this important piece of legislation.

Another piece of legislation that I want to mention addresses a group that has been hard hit during these harsh economic times. I’m talking of course about our members who work in the Randolph-Sheppard (RS) program. Randolph-Sheppard vendors are small business owners, as many of you know. They operate in government facilities. These could be federal or state facilities. The locations our RS merchants manage are critical because they aid workers in gaining supplies that they need at almost no inconvenience to them. But due to the closure of these facilities, many of these entrepreneurs have not been able to go to work because they cannot access the building they work in. This has created a harsh economic downturn for their businesses, and they need our help today. Even when federal facilities open up, they are not going to have the same number of workers. Over time these facilities may end up serving the number of customers they had before the pandemic, but that time is not yet, and this is why it is critical that we receive federal aid to help these entrepreneurs and get them through this pandemic.

We have been successful in the House of Representatives in gaining an appropriation of twenty million dollars to help Randolph-Sheppard vendors. But more still needs to be done. We still need to work on the Senate side in order to make sure this bill passes, and then we must coordinate with the White House to see that it is in favor of this legislation. All three must work together so that Randolph-Sheppard vendors can prosper during these times. This is where you come in as well. We need your support right now. As we’re reaching out to the Senate, we need you to reach out to your state’s Senators, and let them know that Randolph-Sheppard vendors can’t wait on this funding. Remind them that these businesses are different from others because they reside in federal and state buildings to which they have no access. Due to no fault of theirs, the food they have purchased will spoil and will need to be paid for and replaced.

Lastly, I want to speak with you about voting rights. None of the things I mentioned would be possible without our right as American citizens to vote. This is an election year, and it is crucial that we do what we can to see that voting is accessible, private, and independent. No one should have to choose between their safety during this pandemic and their fundamental right to vote. Title II of the ADA states that Americans with disabilities have the same opportunity to vote as Americans without disabilities. That being said, the blind should have the same access to vote as anyone else, and that should include the right to vote both privately and independently.

Unfortunately, too many states do not have the accessibility, privacy, or independence that blind Americans deserve in order to cast their ballots. Because of this frustrating process, we must contact our federal, local, and state representatives, and let them know how important voting privately, independently, and accessibly is to us.

With this as my plea to you, I want to give the podium back to John so he may introduce our next speaker.

JOHN: Thank you, Jeff. Alright, the Federation team is alive and strong. And we’re working together to move our legislation forward. I’m so excited. Thank you, Jeff for speaking about the Access Technology Affordability Act, the RS program, and the critical importance of voting. I appreciated the comments that Speaker Pelosi made the other day in her conversation with President Riccobono. That was terrific. Alright, now moving to Stephanie Flynt. We appreciate the NFB of Mississippi helping to encourage our latest staff member. So let’s hear from Stephanie Flynt.

Stephanie FlyntSTEPHANIE FLYNT: Thank you, John for that wonderful introduction. And Federation family, it is a privilege to be able to address you in this capacity. I know that I don’t just speak for myself when I say that our virtual energy over this week has been very palpable and just absolutely amazing. And that has been, in part, because of Federationists like you.

Winston Churchill is often credited with the quotation: History will be kind to me, for I intend to write it. That isn’t actually what he said, but for the sake of brevity, it probably is what he should have said. Instead, he said, “For my part, I consider that it will be found much better by all parties to leave the past to history, especially as I propose to write that history." But for my presentation today, let’s use the shorter quotation and just attribute it to me.

Since 1940 we have written and continue to write our history in a way that is kind and favorable to our movement. On July 24, 2019, twelve days after last year’s convention, Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky of Illinois introduced H.R. 3929, the Greater Access and Independence through Nonvisual Access Technology Act or GAIN Act for short. This piece of legislation will authorize the access board to conduct a study of pre-existing nonvisual access standards as well as recommend and establish a nonvisual access standard for household appliances, fitness equipment, and home use medical devices. Not only does this legislation have the power to enrich the quality of life for all blind people, but it’s also, dare I say, gaining momentum in the 116th Congress. I’m pleased to report that the GAIN Act is now also up to twenty-nine cosponsors in the House of Representatives. History will be kind to us, for we intend to write it in favor of equality and opportunity for the nation’s blind.

And speaking of equality and opportunity, after much deliberation and negotiation with the higher education lobby, H.R. 5312, the Accessible Instructional Materials in Higher Education Act (what we call the AIM HIGH Act) was reintroduced on December 5 of last year by Congressman Phil Roe of Tennessee and Congressman Joe Courtney of Connecticut. Two weeks later, companion legislation—S3095—was reintroduced by Senator Elizabeth Warren, along with Senators Michael Bennet, Joni Ernst, Jon Tester, and Dan Sullivan. Both the House and Senate bills were reintroduced without safe harbors for institutions of higher education. In addition, the primary tenets of AIM HIGH were incorporated into the House’s Higher Education Reauthorization Package. There is no doubt in my mind that, as a result of our movement’s relentless advocacy, lawmakers are beginning to understand the critical importance of equal access and that equal access is the key to leveling the playing field between disabled and nondisabled students. Equal access is the key to expanding the circle of participation and revolutionizing the 21st century college classroom so that our blind students can compete on terms of equality and have the same opportunities as their sighted peers. We know now that, more than ever, equal access to instructional materials is paramount to a collegiate’s success in not just their virtual learning environments but also in their face-to-face classrooms. History will be kind to us for we intend to write it in such a way that not even a global pandemic such as COVID-19 will be considered an excuse to undermine the rights of blind Americans.

If there is one thing that I’ve had the privilege to witness as someone working on the government affairs team at our national office, it is that my Federation family always answers the call of our movement. On March 19 of this year, I received word from multiple sources on Capitol Hill and other disability groups that the Senate had proposed legislative language that would allow states to request or obtain waivers for all services covered under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act or IDEA. I remember thinking to myself, “surely there is no way this is going to actually happen.” But then I saw the language, and my heart sank. I feverishly and fiercely typed out a call to action alert, letting my Federation family know what had happened and that it was vital to reach out to Congress in order to keep this waiver authority out of the CARES Package. Let me just say that, while I’m sure you are tired of seeing this same phrase over and over again in every single legislative alert that we send out, your calls and emails to your senators and representatives really do make a significant difference. It’s because of those calls and emails from Federationists like you across the country that the waiver authority I mentioned was weakened into a requirement that the secretary had to report on any waiver recommendations thirty days after the enactment of the CARES package. Shortly after its passage, President Riccobono wasted no time in writing a letter to Secretary DeVos explaining that no IDEA waivers were necessary for students, and none should be recommended to Congress. And spoiler alert: Secretary DeVos only recommended one waiver under IDEA, which extended IFSP [Individualized Family Service Plan] services for our blind toddlers past their third birthday until a safe determination of IEP services could take place.

As John mentioned earlier, our advocacy and policy team has expanded our advocacy efforts to new dimensions in response to COVID-19. We are working to eliminate Social Security Disability waiting periods, which would allow those who have lost their jobs due to this international crisis promptly to begin receiving cash and insurance benefits. What is more, we are requesting an appropriation which will establish a peer support training centers’ grant program, allocating ten million dollars to Structured Discovery centers like the Louisiana Center for the Blind, the Colorado Center for the Blind, and BLIND, Incorporated so that these vital contributors to the success of blind people may continue offering their services during and after this one-of-a-kind national emergency.

I get asked a lot, “But how are we able to do this?” If I may go ahead and paraphrase Hamilton the musical to describe my Federation family, we can do it because my Federation family does not throw away our shot. Instead, my Federation family rises up to any challenges that come our way, and we are able to take our advocacy to new heights and give it all we’ve got. This is not because of me and our advocacy and policy team but because of President Riccobono’s steadfast leadership and his unwavering commitment to the nation’s blind. History will continue to be kind to us because with love, hope, and determination, we will write it in such a way that our legislative dreams are transformed into laws that become our reality. My Federation family, I invite you to join me in continuing to build the Federation with advocacy at the forefront of our efforts. Thank you.

JOHN: Thank you, Stephanie. The depth and breadth of our advocacy, the advocacy of the National Federation of the Blind, knows no bounds; we are, as you can see, working together. We are making substantial progress on what is really our seven bills that President Riccobono mentioned earlier in this convention, along with all of the specialized work that we’ve been doing that Stephanie mentioned related to COVID-19. We’ve also had a great lineup of members of Congress speak at this national convention, beginning with the somewhat surprise presentation with Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky, the sponsor of the GAIN Act, followed by the Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, followed by Senator Durbin, and now, we are going to view a presentation with Senator Boozman. Senator Boozman has been doing an incredible job as the sponsor of the Access Technology Affordability Act. President Riccobono spoke to him earlier this week and had a terrific conversation. Here it is:

PRESIDENT RICCOBONO: It’s my pleasure to be here today with the senior senator from the great state of Arkansas, a great friend of the National Federation of the Blind. He was first elected to Congress in 2010. Among other things, he serves as the chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies.  I think I first got to know him in the 115th Congress when he came to our congressional reception and amongst other remarks announced that he wanted to be the lead sponsor in the United States Senate of our Access Technology Affordability Act. It is a very important bill that has been advancing, and we really appreciate having the senator's leadership on this and other important initiatives we both support. It’s a pleasure today to introduce Senator Boozman. Senator, thank you for being with us.
 
SENATOR BOOZMAN: Well, thanks so much. And special thanks to the National Federation of the Blind for inviting me to speak at your convention. As an optometrist, I have seen firsthand many of the struggles your members have to deal with on a daily basis. In fact, I can remember my brother calling me when I was at the University of Arkansas as an undergraduate. My brother had decided he was going to become an ophthalmologist. He was in a medical school residency and decided ophthalmology was going to be what he wanted to devote his life to, so he called me and said, “John, I’m going to get into ophthalmology. Why don’t you think about being an optometrist, and then we can work together?” So I thought about that, and my brother and I were very close. He was four years older than I, and so I did that. I got into my training, and when I was a senior, I realized that I was going to have to work with people who had impaired vision. I asked the dean of my school if I could go to the New York Lighthouse for the Blind, which was truly the best place in the country at that time for low-vision training, so I spent a semester there. I studied under Eleanor Faye, the great ophthalmologist who was such a pioneer in that area, and this was so very helpful.

I came back to Arkansas and visited with the school for the blind in Little Rock. We set up a low-vision program. And you have to remember, this was back in the old days when really there were just some inexpensive, but fairly powerful magnifiers. I worked with this young student and got him where he was able to read print. The school followed up and did an excellent job. Literally he was reading newspapers. He goes home on break and he’s reading the newspapers, and his mom says, “What’s the deal? What are you doing? How can you do this?” So she called the person who was taking care of him. That doctor subsequently called the person at the school for the blind, chewed him out, and said, "Do you know what you are you doing?” And, so, I really do understand where we’ve been, where we are now, and what we need to do to push us in the future. That's why I introduced the bipartisan legislation to help blind Americans have access to the tools that they need to get in the workforce, in this case, with COVID-19, get back to work and excel in the classroom. The Access Technology Affordability Act establishes a $2,000 refundable tax credit for blind Americans to be used over a three-year-period to offset the cost of access technology. Many blind Americans have lost their jobs to the COVID-19 pandemic, so this is an excellent time to double down on their efforts. A refreshable Braille display will be a huge asset to search for a new position. Blind students of all ages are now learning online at home, so a Braille embosser is an essential tool to keep up with their schoolwork. Many states are enforcing stay-at-home orders. Screen reader software can help keep blind citizens informed of which restaurants and businesses are open and safe for them to visit. The legislation also, very importantly, provides flexibility for individuals to obtain access technology based upon their specific needs. And, as we all know, certainly a person who is categorized as blind—it's not a one-size-fits-all. There’s all levels of vision; there’s all levels of feel. So all of you know better than anyone else—accessibility requires an individual assessment of one’s own skills and needs. This can be especially valuable for blind Americans to ensure that they are receiving the tools that are most useful to them.

The unemployment or underemployment rate among blind Americans was likely exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, but it has existed, as we all know, for many years. According to the 2017 American Community Survey from the US Census Bureau, nearly 70 percent of blind, working-age Americans did not have full-time, full-year employment. The bill will help these Americans enter the labor force by shouldering a small portion of the cost for access technology.
And the only other thing I’d say is that the technology we have now and the affordability is something that in the old days we simply couldn’t imagine. There are so many devices that can help make one’s life so much easier. So that’s really what it’s all about is working together, and I appreciate the efforts of your team in Washington. Fred Graefe does a great job, and you all are doing a great job with explaining to members how important this is and educating Congress as to how helpful having accessibility through a tax credit program is. So thank you very much, and I’ll be glad to visit and discuss anything you’d like. We’re willing to help you in any way that we can.

PR: Thank you very much Senator. It’s great that you keep your leadership and perspective rooted in the real hopes and dreams and needs of blind people, bringing your personal experience to that, so we really appreciate that. I guess you know that we've registered more than seven thousand individuals to be at this online convention. Many more will be streaming who haven't registered.

SB: That's great.

PR: What would you want to say to those blind people who are out there? Some of them are going to be learning about this bill for the first time, and they’re probably saying, “Yeah, man, I need that.” What would you say to them in terms of what they can do to help you and our efforts to move this bill in the United States Senate?

SB: Well, as you know, I can help educate members and twist arms and do all that we’re doing right now, but there is absolutely no substitute for your members or affiliates, for those people reaching out to their congressman, their senator, or you know, not necessarily directly, reaching out to their staff and just talking about how important this is. I think the thing that makes the most difference is relaying how this proposal would make a difference in their life, how it would make their life easier. Again, we helped start the low-vision clinic in Little Rock, spent many years there, and Dr. King took that over and is doing a tremendous job. But I know firsthand that some people don’t understand how to categorize blind people: it’s all one vision, it’s all one field of vision, all of those things. And so we have to educate them as to how a reader would be so helpful or a magnifying device that may take many different forms. In the case of Braille, you know, we must tell them about the various things we can do in that regard or a combination of all of those things—hard copy, refreshable Braille. But I think the best thing is personal contacts. You know, I get all kinds of contacts. Sometimes they’re from letters and this and that, but there is no substitute for an individual taking the time to contact by email or phone call or in-person, and it can either be staff or members.

PR: Great. I’ll throw one more thing at you: so people should definitely Support S. 815, which is the bill we’ve been talking about. One of the things I love about this and the work that we do in the National Federation of the Blind is that it is bipartisan, has support from all angles. One of the things that we’ve been doing at this convention is, of course, encouraging blind people to register and go out to vote this year, regardless of their political views. We've been working hard over the last few months to put extra energy to make sure that blind people can vote in an accessible manner in states as the voting landscape shifts. I just wonder, in terms of participation in the voting process in the United States, do you have any messages for our members?

SB: No, just except as you said: I would encourage them to go and vote. You know, the good things about these issues are that they aren’t partisan in nature at all. These are things that we simply need to get done and the idea that helping an individual who is handicapped in some way, this way through visual impairment, that’s something that we really do to coalesce. We've got good sponsors on both sides; that’s really important as you get things done. We appreciate your leadership in that regard, the leadership of your association, your leadership in Washington that’s doing a good job; that’s pushing things forward.

And then, as you said, we’re getting ready to celebrate the Fourth of July, where we celebrate the founding of our country and the freedoms we enjoy. Certainly right at the top of that list is our ability to go and vote, so we shouldn’t take that for granted.

PR: Well, thank you, Senator. We appreciate your leadership on behalf of the National Federation of the Blind of Arkansas, who I know really supports what you’re doing and your listening to their voice locally and also our national movement. We really appreciate your leadership on this bill and others, and we look forward to our continued work with you in the Congress.

SB: Well, we appreciate you and appreciate the great work that your organization is doing. It’s how you get things done—through banding together. So, we’re gonna do our best to continue the work to push this through, and I look forward, hopefully in the not-too-distant future, that we’re together again in person. We're going to get through this virus. I would remind all who are participating really to take precautions, wear the mask, and do the things like social distancing. It's all about protecting yourself. But as important or maybe even more important, it’s about protecting others. So many people have underlying conditions, and we don’t want to get these people in difficult situations. So, again, thank you so much for having me, and I certainly enjoyed our time together.

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