FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
White House Announces Appointment of Blind Attorney from Utah to Access Board
Salt Lake City, Utah (December 17, 2007): The White House recently announced the appointment by President Bush of Ron Gardner to serve on the Access Board. The Access Board is an independent federal agency devoted to accessibility for people with disabilities. Ron Gardner, of Bountiful, Utah, will serve his term during the remainder of the Bush administration and will continue into the first two years of the new administration.
Gardner, blind since birth, graduated from law school at Brigham Young University in 1978. He currently serves as director of field services for the National Federation of the Blind, the nation’s oldest and largest organization of blind people, headquartered in Baltimore, Maryland. In that capacity he provides training to state agencies on rehabilitation issues and advises charitable organizations on the legal requirements to maintain their tax-exempt status. In 2002 he was appointed director of the Professional Development and Research Institute on Blindness in the graduate school at Louisiana Tech University. From 1995 to 2002 he served as legal director of Utah’s Disability Law Center. From 1978 to1995 he served as a senior trial attorney for the Office of Chief Counsel, Internal Revenue Service and Special Assistant United States Attorney for the district of Utah. He also taught business law as an adjunct professor for Brigham Young University for fourteen years.
Mr. Gardner volunteers as president of the National Federation of the Blind of Utah, which is the local affiliate of the National Federation of the Blind. He lives and promotes the positive philosophy of blindness espoused by that organization. “I believe blind individuals should take personal responsibility for acquiring the skills necessary to compete as a blind person in today’s world. Disabled people must not assume that the world owes them a living; rather, they should obtain the education and skills necessary to facilitate meaningful participation in the affairs of home and community,” Gardner said. “As I serve on the Access Board, I look forward to the challenge of combining a philosophy of personal responsibility with supporting the legal requirements to promote access for people with disabilities.”
Mr. Gardner also volunteers as chair of the Advisory Council for the Utah Division of Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired and as a member of the Institutional Council for the Utah Schools for the Deaf and the Blind. Gardner has represented and advocated on behalf of individuals with disabilities and coordinated community and statewide efforts to increase the opportunities for employment and access to services that benefit the lives of people with disabilities. He particularly enjoys his work with the Utah Organization of Parents of Blind Children to promote the use of Braille. Other volunteer service includes Utah State Bar Needs of the Elderly Committee; Statewide Rehabilitation Council for the Utah State Office of Rehabilitation; Advisory Committee on Disability Issues for Senator Orrin Hatch; Board of Directors for the Utah Industries for the Blind; Committee on Accessible Transportation, Utah Transit Authority; Governor’s Task Force on Needs Assessment for the Handicapped; and Curriculum Advisory Committee for the Visually Impaired for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He has worked with the Lieutenant Governor to identify and test electronic voting equipment, which is accessible to blind and visually impaired voters.
Gardner has been recognized for his legal and volunteer service on behalf of people with disabilities. He was named “Honored Alumnus of the Year” by the law school at Brigham Young University and “Utah Handicapped Citizen of the Year” by the Governor’s Office.
“With his political background, legal experience, and common sense approach to accessibility for the blind and other disability populations, I can’t think of a better individual for such an appointment,” says Cheralyn Braithwaite Creer, first vice president of the National Federation of the Blind of Utah. “As a blind person myself and as a mother of a blind child, I know that Ron will represent the needs of individuals with disabilities and the state of Utah very well. The positive philosophy of blindness from the National Federation of the Blind provides hope and encouragement to blind people and to parents of blind children across our state.”
The Access Board operates with about thirty staff members, a governing board of representatives from federal departments, and public members appointed by the president. For more information about the Access Board, visit the Web site atwww.access-board.gov. For more information about the National Federation of the Blind, visit the Web site at www.nfb.org.