Release Date: 
Thursday, October 5, 2006
John G. Paré Jr.
Director of Public Relations
National Federation of the Blind
(410) 659-9314, extension 2371
(410) 262-1281 (Cell)

National Federation of the Blind Comments on Gubernatorial Race in Maryland

Baltimore, MD (October 5, 2006): Dr. Marc Maurer, President of the National Federation of the Blind, the nation’s oldest and largest organization of blind persons, responded today to questions that have been raised about the candidacy of Kristin Cox for the office of Lieutenant Governor of Maryland. The questions arose after Republican gubernatorial candidate Robert L. Ehrlich acknowledged in an interview that Cox’s blindness was a factor that he considered in support of selecting her as his running mate and his opponent, Democratic Baltimore mayor Martin O’Malley, questioned Ehrlich’s motivation.

Dr. Maurer said: “It is a mark of how far society has come in its attitudes towards blind people that blindness is no longer seen as a barrier to serving in public office. Clearly, Governor Ehrlich understands that blindness does not disqualify a person from serving the public.”

Dr. Maurer continued: “It is noteworthy that in New York, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Eliot Spitzer has also chosen a blind running mate, David Paterson. The selection of these two individuals by prominent politicians in their respective states demonstrates a bipartisan view, and a view increasingly shared by society at large, that the blind are as qualified as anyone else to take on important governmental roles and responsibilities. The National Federation of the Blind has no reason to believe that either Mrs. Cox or Mr. Paterson is anything but highly qualified for the responsibilities for which they have been chosen, because we know that blindness does not in any way limit an individual’s capacity to be an effective public servant, or indeed to do anything else.”