I hope you had a chance to read the mayoral candidates' responses to the questions I asked them in an email. This week, I will continue with three of the alderman candidates and their responses.
I am posting the questions again as a reminder:
1) To make Frederick a much improved Deaf Friendly city, it starts in the political offices. So, how will you, as the running candidate for the position, help the Deaf residents thrive in this city? 2) How will you contribute to the Deaf community outside of the office? 3) Sept 23- 28 is the Deaf Awareness Week, any general comments on how much you know about the Deaf community or Deaf culture? Alan Imhoff (Republican): 1. While I know a little about the Deaf community here in Frederick, I need to learn more. I need to know more about the remaining barriers in functioning daily in a hearing society. Once I understand more about their challenges, I can try to find ways to help overcome those barrier . I see many from the Deaf community regularly coming into a certain coffee shop and using it as gathering place just like any other group wanting to meet. They blend in. That what I would like to see throughout the city, a blending in of the two languages, spoken and signed. 2. Working with Maryland School for the Deaf to expand their outreach of what the school has to offer. A few years ago I attended a play, Up the Down Staircase, at the school and sat mesmerized by the ballet of the deaf actors signing while the voice-over seemed to fade into the background. Awareness and understanding of this growing community within Frederick is needed so that any business can learn to have deaf individuals as their customers. 3. I have had the opportunity to work with members of the Deaf community for over two decades. A good friend of mine taught carpentry there for over 20 years. I met David Denton when he was superintendent and still count him among my best friends. My daughters were involved in learning to sign in elementary school and I have had the pleasure of teaching several deaf students at FCC. I am always amazed by the “artistry” of the process of signing and was thoroughly impressed by it when I attended a student play at the Maryland School for the Deaf. You can find more information about Alan Imhoff here. Philip Dacey (Republican) Frederick has a unique relationship with the Deaf community because it plays such an important role in the success of the City. The key to understanding and working with any community is communication. The City has an obligation to ensure that there is open communication between the government and this important constituency. I attended a terrific training conducted by the Governor's Office of Deaf and Hard of Hearing. The training was informative about differing perspectives on deaf and hard of hearing culture and provided practical advice to assist customer service interaction with members of the community. I would encourage this training for all City employees as it helps foster an understanding of the diverse spectrum that comprises the deaf and hard of hearing community, with the goal of improving service to the community. You can find more information about Philip Dacey at this link: http://phildacey.com/about/ David Schmidt (Republican) 1. The reason a city is formed is that its residents want an increase of services. There is something that county or state is not providing, and they bond together to build a community that at a higher cost, provides bigger and better services. True to that mission, the City of Frederick has to be intentional about reaching out to every part of our community. We can't just be reactive to people's needs, we have to seek out and proactively create an environment where every single citizen can succeed. Specifically, I would ask the deaf community to provide a comprehensive list where the City is failing to live up to its promise of equal opportunity. We can then walk through together, line by line, and create a plan with real action. 2. I will be an advocate for deaf community. Being an alderman will introduce me to people involved in the education system, and regional representatives. I can use those opportunities as a platform for increasing education about the deaf community, and teach the leaders in the deaf community how to effectively lobby for services they find lacking. 3. Growing up I was taught a bit of ASL and learned to sign a couple of songs during my childhood. I was blessed to have teachers in my life that taught us more than just ASL but about introduced us to the culture of the deaf community. Something that stuck out to me, is how important the collective culture is to the deaf community, and the strong bonds that are formed within it. There is a lesson to be learned by the broader culture about being able to depend on your friends and neighbors. You can find more information about David Schmidt at this link: http://www.voteschmidt.com/ See you all next week for more politics!