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Blind Lawmaker To Get Braille Translator
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
April 26, 2004

SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA--Jung Hwa-won, the nation's first blind lawmaker, will have a Braille translator and other accommodations he needs in order to represent his constituents, the Korea Times reported.

Jung, 56, a member of the main opposition Grand National Party, was elected to the National Assembly in the April 22 general election.

"I will do my best to fulfill my role as the first lawmaker with a visual disability," he said Thursday.

He visited the Assembly office last Tuesday to explain what he would need to participate fully in the legislative process.

Korea's 17th National Assembly has a proportional representation system, which allocated two positions to representatives with disabilities. The Uri Party's Jang Hyang-suk, who has polio and uses a wheelchair, was chosen to fill the other disability representative position.

Jung's translator will transcribe the minutes of all assembly meetings into Braille for him. In addition to the Braille translator, the Assembly will install facilities to make it easier for Jung to get through the halls of the Assembly, attach Braille stickers to voting equipment and other facilities, and publish Assembly guides in Braille.

Jung will also have the same number of general assistants as every other Assembly member, but his will be recruited from candidates who have studied social welfare issues or who have disabilities themselves.

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