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Deaf Community Happy With Daugaard Win

November 3, 2010, 9:53 PM by Erich Schaffhauser

Deaf Community Happy With Daugaard Win
SIOUX FALLS, SD - Dennis Daugaard's victory in the governor's race was especially exciting for some South Dakotans, not because of his political past or party but because of his parents.

Members of the deaf community call this win inspirational for them.

Inside the headquarters of Communication Services for the Deaf, people are happy to see a person with deaf parents elected to the state's top job.  Kevin Barber and Patty Kuglitsch hope awareness comes with it.

"Deaf parents can raise children just like anyone else. Certainly there's nothing holding them back; there's nothing wrong," Kuglitsch said.

Kuglitsch has two children she's very proud of. Barber says the same about his and is already using the Daugaard win to motivate them.

"I said, 'Hey, he's just like you. He's a CODA. He's a child of a deaf adult. The fact that he can succeed certainly means that you can be a politician too,’" Barber said.

And add to the history Daugaard may have made with his win.

"We've tried to find other CODAs that may have become governor and so far we have found no one. So we believe Dennis may have been the very first," Benjamin Soukup said.

CSD has a magazine on hand with Daugaard on the cover being sworn in as lieutenant governor. His dad is right beside him.

CSD CEO Benjamin Soukup has known the Daugaard family for years and has no doubt both parents are looking down with pride over their son's success.

"People's perceptions could change because obviously deaf people can do anything except hear," Barber said.

"It's just an inspiration to see him where he's at," Kuglitsch said.

And these parents say that especially on behalf of their own children of deaf adults.

The parents we talked with also hope Daugaard's new position will shed light on issues within the deaf community such as interpreting.

Daugaard has served as an interpreter in the past.

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