Braille Monitor                                     November 2017

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A Serious Danger for Blind Vendors

by Nicky Gacos

Nicky GacosFrom the Editor: Members who were in the Federation in the 80s will remember a big push we made to see that blind vendors could operate facilities on rest areas along our nation’s highways. In some states these rest areas are managed directly by our blind merchants. In others the rest areas are contracted to private purveyors who send a percentage of what they make to the blind vendor programs in their state, and the money is used to help all blind vendors who work there. The proposal by the administration to eliminate the priority for the blind in these rest areas will be devastating if it becomes law. Here is what President Nicky Gacos of the National Association of Blind Merchants has to say:

Several weeks ago we circulated a link that would allow you to send letters directly to your members of Congress expressing concern over proposed legislation to allow commercialization of the interstate rest areas. Such legislation would be devastating to blind vendors who operate vending at interstate rest areas and to state licensing agencies (SLA’s) that rely on funds from third party vendors at these sites to operate their program and to offer benefits to their vendors. Rest area commercialization would result in almost 400 lost jobs, the loss of fringe benefits for hundreds, and lost revenue with which to operate the programs.

We’ve had a good response so far; however, with summer over, the kids back in school, and BLAST out of the way, it is time to ramp things up again. Please go to
and register your concerns. It will take you less than two minutes.

Once you have sent your letters, please:

  1. Ask friends and family to do the same;
  2. Post it on your Facebook page and/or Twitter account and ask all of your social media friends to log on and send letters;
  3. Forward this email to every vendor in your state and stress the importance of letting their voices be heard.

Together, we can make a difference. Act now!

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