Sarasota woman's 1990 letter from Former President George H.W. Bush
SARASOTA - For our 41st president, six words stood between him and four more years in the White House.
"Read my lips; no new taxes!" Former President George H.W. Bush once said.
Sarasota Resident Barbara Chertok was watching.
"I was teaching lipreading, and when he started that business about 'read my lips,' that was a perfect chance for me to write to him and ask if he could help me promote lipreading,” Chertok said. She suddenly lost her hearing at age 21 to an autoimmune disease, and lipreading was invaluable in helping her communicate.
She wrote President Bush a letter on July 11, 1990, telling him how hearing loss changed her life and inviting him and his wife Barbara to promote lipreading across the country.
"He wrote back a lovely letter and congratulated me on the work I was doing for people with hearing loss but said that he was not allowed to promote any kind of issues while he was in the White House, so he apologized for that,” Chertok said.
At the end of her letter, she encouraged him to sign the ADA Bill. Two weeks after Chertok sent her letter, he signed the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, which the late president is still remembered for today.
"I was delighted," Chertok said. She says she was never surprised he answered her message.
"He was that kind of a person; he really cared,” Chertok said. Her daughter framed the special letter, which Chertok still keeps on her wall.
Chertok still works with the hearing impaired on the Suncoast.