Texas Association of the Deaf, Inc.
P.O. Box 1982
Manchaca, Texas 78652
February 27, 2011
To Whom It May Concern:
Subject: Position paper on the issue of emergency action plans for the deaf and hard of hearing people in Texas as stated by the Texas Association of the Deaf
During the first-two months of the 82nd Texas legislative session, the Texas Association of the Deaf (TAD) has stated its position on more than 12 bills that are in various committees at present. In addition to this monitoring task, the TAD continues its traditional support of issues related to education, rehabilitation, communication, social services, advocacy and so forth.
One particular item has received our utmost interest and attention. What will the Texas Governor’s Division of Emergency Management (TDEM) do about the new course of action when the next natural disaster strikes Texas? As the bona fide association that looks after the welfare of all deaf and hard of hearing Texans, the TAD has a legal and social concern about the future plans by TDEM.
After a careful study of the given issue, it is the definite consensus of the TAD board to state its position on the matter at hand, which is as follows:
The TAD board believes strongly in an accessible and effective system that the TDEM will eventually develop along with the Office of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services (ODHHS) within the Texas Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services (DARS). In view of the association’s long history of collaboration with state agencies, divisions and past legislatives, the TAD board continues to impart its trust and faith in ODHHS and TDEM as they explore other new technical and communicative options. Therefore, we believe strongly that a fresh start towards finding workable solutions is the best course of action.
In the meanwhile the TAD will be more than happy to provide the necessary input before the next natural disaster strikes Texas. Indeed, our needs are very unique, which require qualified professionals like ODHHS, to monitor our overall welfare in emergency situations. As the bona fide consumers and stakeholders in Texas, the TAD supports the newest endeavor between
TDEM and ODHHS and casts its vote of confidence for both groups without hesitation.
Furthermore, TAD thanks TDEM and ODHHS in advance for looking out for the safety and well being of the deaf and hard of hearing communities in Texas and extend our best wishes for their crucial collaboration.
(TAD is a non-profit association of the deaf and hard of hearing people in Texas and will celebrate its 125th birthday this June. For further information about TAD, go to http://www.deaftexas.org.)
Paul Rutowski, President
Texas Association of the Deaf
CC: Dennis Borel, Coalition of Texans with Disabilities
David Myers, Office of the Deaf/Hard of Hearing Services, DARS
Chief Nim Kidd, Texas Governor’s Div. of Emergency Management
Amanda Garcia, TGDEM
Maggie Elestwani, Collaborative for People with Disabilities
Angie English, Governor’s Committee on People with Disabilities
Marcus Myers, Vice President, Corpus Christi
Dr. Steve Baldwin, Secretary, Austin
John Mills, Treasurer, Austin
Larry D. Evans, Director, Austin
Cindi Nagy, Director, Garland
Susie Grona, Director, Hideaway, Texas