Arkansas legislature gives recognition to iconic sign language interpreter

Eddy Schmeckenbecher, the American Sign Language interpreter for Gov. Asa Hutchinson, was recognized by Arkansas Congress on Tuesday.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark — Eddy Schmeckenbecher, the American Sign Language interpreter for Gov. Asa Hutchinson, was recognized by Arkansas Congress on Tuesday.

“We want to commend Eddy today for everything he has done,” said State Rep. Charlene Fite. “Eddy Schmeckenbecher has done more to popularize American Sign Language than anyone in the history of this state.”

Schmeckenbecher said that he’s just doing his job, while the state sees him as more than just a sign language interpreter for the important updates the Governor gives surrounding the pandemic in Arkansas. 

“That’s been a real surprise to me, that people have noticed it like that,” said Eddy Schmeckenbecher.

For the past four years, Schmeckenbecher has been interpreting for the Governor during press conferences,

“With his expressive language, his energy, his smile, his colorful ties, he has become an icon,” said Rep. Fite. 

Schmeckenbecher translates for each COVID update press conference. It’s the state’s way of trying to keep everyone informed.

“I’ve talked to several deaf people and they say that they like having the interpreter because reading is sometimes too fast,” said Schmeckenbecher.