Mark D Richert
Director of Public Policy
American Foundation for the Blind (AFB)
Mark Richert serves as the Director of Public Policy for the American Foundation for the Blind (AFB), the leading national nonprofit to which Helen Keller devoted more than four decades of her extraordinary life. AFB's mission is to expand possibilities for people with vision loss of all ages. Mark is AFB's primary representative before the U.S. Congress and Executive Branch agencies, and he is responsible for the development and implementation of AFB's public policy and policy research agendas. Prior to joining AFB, Mark was the Executive Director of the Association for Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired, the membership organization representing professionals serving children, working-age adults, and seniors with vision loss. Mark is a co-founder of the Coalition of Organizations for Accessible Technology (COAT) and a co-chair of the Civil Rights and Telecommunications and Technology Task Forces of the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD). Over the course of his career, Mark has shaped the vision loss community's work in a host of areas. He crafted provisions of copyright law establishing the right to reproduce copyrighted works in specialized formats such as Braille. He spearheaded provisions of the Help America Vote Act ensuring the availability of at least one accessible voting machine in each polling place in America. His advocacy on behalf of children with vision loss led to sweeping improvements in America's special education law guaranteeing each child who is blind or visually impaired the right to timely and effective access to textbooks and related instructional materials. Most recently, Mark and his COAT colleagues achieved enactment of the historic Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act, the most comprehensive disability policy signed into law since the landmark Americans with Disabilities Act. Mark is a graduate of the George Washington University National Law Center and has been a member of the Florida Bar since 1993. He lives in Arlington, Virginia.