It was a perfectly ordinary exchange for politics in Portland, Oregon, with one exception, Northwest News Network reports.
Philip Wolfe was bantering with several hundred likely voters through an American Sign Language interpreter. Wolf was up on stage, speaking in sign language, one quick gesture after another, while the interpreter, dressed in black, translated.
Wolfe is Portland's first deaf city council candidate, and he's part of a new wave: people who are deaf or hard of hearing and are fighting for a place in politics.
And just a note: if you listen to the audio version of this story, the voice you hear when Wolfe speaks is his preferred sign language interpreter, Andrew.
Wolfe has already served two terms on Portland’s Commission on Disability, and he lobbied successfully for legislation requiring Portland bars and gyms to turn on captioning on their televisions so that the deaf community could get access to programs broadcast in public.
But as Wolfe got more involved in politics, he noticed that deaf people were missing from elected office. So he decided to run for city council.
Around the country deaf candidates are running for state and local office: in Jacksonville, Florida, and in Kansas City, Kansas. A deaf woman was recently elected mayor of Angel’s Camp, a small town in Northern California.
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