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California Public Utilities Commission
505 Van Ness Ave., San Francisco



Media Contact: Terrie Prosper, 415.703.1366, news@cpuc.ca.gov


SAN FRANCISCO, November 21, 2008 - The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) today announced that Commissioner Rachelle Chong is the recipient of the 2008 Policy and Advocacy Award from the World Institute on Disability (WID). The award was presented at

WID's 25th anniversary gala in Oakland, Calif., earlier this month.

The award honors Commissioner Chong's work at the CPUC and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to bring advanced communications devices to the disability community. "I am deeply honored to receive this award from WID, a world leader on disability issues," commented Commissioner Chong. "It is my view that we must rethink our telephone equipment programs for the disability community so they can enjoy the advances in communications technology to enrich their lives and security. For example, the new Wireless Pilot Project of the CPUC is bringing text pagers to low income deaf community members so they may work outside the home and have a way to get help in an emergency."

"The Policy and Advocacy Award is in recognition of Commissioner Chong's advocacy on behalf of technology access for persons with disabilities. Her prior work as a Commissioner at the FCC made advances in video, closed captioning, and wireless handset access in the mid-90s. As a CPUC Commissioner, she spearheaded the Wireless Pilot Program for the Deaf and Disabled Telecommunications Program and the California Telephone Access Program," said Sam Simon, Vice-Chair of the WID Board of Directors.

Also honored by the WID were Judy Heumann and Joan Leon for Lifetime Achievement. Deborah Kaplan and Liane Yasumoto received Pioneer Awards.

WID is an internationally known public policy center organized by and for people with disabilities. The organization provides research, training, advocacy, and public education to help people with disabilities throughout the world enjoy increased opportunities to live independently.

For more information on WID, please visit www.wid.org.

For more information about the CPUC's Deaf and Disabled Telecommunications Program, please visit www.ddtp.org.

For more information on the CPUC, please visit www.cpuc.ca.gov.


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