We cordially extend an invitation to you to join us for the FCC Chairman’s Keynote Address at the 22nd Biennial Conference of Telecommunications for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, Inc. on Thursday, July 27, from 9:00 AM to 9:45 AM.  The Conference takes place at the Bethesda North Marriott Hotel & Conference Center, 5701 Marinelli Road North Bethesda, MD 20852.  The White Flint Metro Station is across from the hotel.

Ajit Pai has been Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) since January 2017.  The son of Konkani immigrants from India, Pai grew up in rural Parsons, Kansas.  Pai attended Harvard University where he participated in the Harvard Speech & Parliamentary Debate Society.  He earned a B.A. with honors in Social Studies from Harvard in 1994 and a J.D. from the University of Chicago in 1997, where he was an editor of the University of Chicago Law Review and won the Thomas J. Mulroy Prize.  Following law school, Pai clerked for Martin Leach-Cross Feldman of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana.

After moving to Washington, DC in 1998, Pai worked for the United States Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division as an Honors Program trial attorney on the Telecommunications Task Force.  Pai left his Department of Justice post in February 2001 to serve as Associate General Counsel at Verizon Communications Inc.  Pai left Verizon in April 2003 and was hired as Deputy Chief Counsel to the United States Senate Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Administrative Oversight and the Courts.  He returned to the Department of Justice to serve as Senior Counsel in the Office of Legal Policy in May 2004. He held that position until February 2005, when he was hired as Chief Counsel to the Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Property Rights.

Between 2007 and 2011, Pai held several positions in the FCC’s Office of General Counsel, serving most prominently as Deputy General Counsel.  Pai returned to the private sector in April 2011, working as a Partner in communications practice in the Washington, D.C. office of law firm Jenner & Block.  In 2011, Pai was nominated for a Republican Party position on the Federal Communications Commission by President Barack Obama at the recommendation of Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.  He was confirmed unanimously by the United States Senate on May 7, 2012 and was sworn in on May 14, 2012 for a term that concluded on June 30, 2016.  Then Pai was designated chairman of the FCC by President Donald Trump in January 2017 for a five-year term.  He now lives in Arlington, Virginia, with his wife, Janine; son, Alexander; and daughter, Annabelle.

Source: Wikipedia

The Honorable Mr. Pai has the distinction of being the first Republican Chairman of the FCC ever to give a keynote address for a TDI Biennial Conference.  The other three past Chairmen of the FCC, all Democrats who have given keynote addresses in past Conferences are Reed Hundt in Boston, MA (1995), William Kennard in Seattle, WA (1999), and Tom Wheeler in Baltimore, MD (2015).

Claude Stout, Executive Director, TDI said, “We are honored to have FCC Chairman Ajit Pai join us at our biennial event.  Chairman Pai has been a good advocate for the disability community, especially when it comes to emergency communications, and TV/Internet captioning.  He has been highly vocal for meaningful and gainful collaboration between industry, government, and consumer groups, and the Conference will be promoting this frequently tried and true approach that has worked well for us over the years.”

Immediately after the Keynote, a Town Hall will take place with those from the FCC and a representative from Gallaudet University.  Stephanie Buell will be the moderator for the Town Hall.  The participants in the Town Hall are as follows:

Moderator: Stephanie Buell, Treasurer and Central Region Representative on the TDI Board of Directors
Karen Peltz-Strauss, Deputy Chief – Policy, Consumer and Governmental Affairs, Federal Communications Commission
Suzy Rosen Singleton, Chief, Disability Rights Office, Consumer and Governmental Affairs, Federal Communications Commission
Eliot Greenwald, Deputy Chief, Disability Rights Office, Consumer and Governmental Affairs, Federal Communications Commission
Robert McConnell, Telecommunications Accessibility Specialist, Disability Rights Office, Consumer and Governmental Affairs, Federal Communications Commission
Dr. Christian Vogler, Director, Technology Access Program, Gallaudet University

Ms. Buell will open the Town Hall with introductions of the participants.  Then Karen Peltz-Strauss will give a general report on the FCC’s work in the last two years, since the Conference we had in Baltimore, MD (August 2015).  Suzy Rosen Singleton will then cover non-TRS issues, Eliot Greenwald the TRS issues, Robert McConnell on the Direct Video Communication (DVC) effort, and Dr. Christian Vogler on Real-Time Text (RTT).  Then in the last thirty minutes, the Town Hall moderator, Ms. Buell will ask a few questions of them, and then the audience will be welcomed to ask questions or make comments with the FCC officials and Dr. Vogler.

It’s a great opportunity to witness his keynote address, and gain a peek into the mind of Mr. Ajit Pai. We would be deeply honored if you join us for Pai’s keynote address and also the Town Hall on the first day of the Conference.  It is absolutely free to attend, and (while encouraged) you need not register for the Conference to attend the keynote address. 

While we strongly encourage you to attend the full conference, if you prefer to only attend the keynote address by Pai and the Town Hall, you absolutely can!  Saturday, July 29 is Consumers’ Day, so all are welcome to attend, and do not need to register to experience what the TDI has to offer for the day.

In order for us to know how many that will join us for this event, while not required, we would appreciate a RSVP from you on whether you can join us or not.  Thank you, and hope to see you there.

RSVP: Just send Claude an e-mail at [email protected] about coming to see FCC Chairman Pai give his address and the Town Hall on Thursday morning, July 27.

This Conference offers you and others a wonderful three-day’s experience and opportunities for personal/professional development.  You learn about the latest in public policy for disability access, to network with others from with business and government, and to visit the exhibits that give you the latest information and hands-on experience with accessible products and services.  You meet the industry leaders that have worked with TDI and its sister consumer groups in the last two years on access topics such as relay services, emergency communications, wireless communications and information, and captioning of video programming.

Conference Program (schedule of events): https://tdiforaccess.org/2017-conf-agenda/

We invite you to join us at the Conference.  Check our website tdiforaccess.org or the links below to register for the Conference, to stay at the host hotel – the Hyatt Regency Baltimore, and to buy tickets for either the baseball game or the tour of the National Aquarium.  You can register for full combo tickets, or single events like the President’s Reception, the two Luncheons, and the Dinner/Entertainment Finale. 

Conference Registration: https://tdiforaccess.org/2017-conference/

Nationals vs Rockies Baseball Game, Friday, July 28: https://tdiforaccess.org/2017/06/washington-nationals/

If you still need information or support to make Conference plans, feel free to contact me anytime at [email protected].  We will then contact you, and help you until you are completely satisfied.  We thank you very much for considering our invitation to participate in the Conference.