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Senator Tammy Baldwin and Representative Tom Cole Honored as Society’s Elected Officials of the Year

February 25, 2019

The National Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Society has name U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin as its 2018 U.S. Senator of the Year and U.S. Representative Tom Cole of Oklahoma as its 2018 U.S. Representative of the Year.

U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin (Wisconsin):
Senator Tammy Baldwin was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2012, becoming Wisconsin’s first woman to  serve in the Senate. She has been a passionate advocate for access to healthcare for all, in remembrance of her grandparents who raised her and were forced to make great sacrifices when their health insurance policy did not recognize her as a dependent and refused to cover her care. She became a champion of the Affordable Care Act while in the U.S. House of Representatives to ensure that children have access to care and would not be denied coverage due to pre-existing conditions. She currently serves on key committees including the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) committee, the Labor Health, Labor, and Human Services (LHHS) committee, the Senate Appropriations Committee, and the Primary Health Subcommittee.

Senator Baldwin has been a consistent advocate for those living with multiple sclerosis and other chronic illnesses. She has supported several bills impacting people with MS, the most notable examples including the Fair Accountability and Innovative Research Drug Pricing Act, the CREATES Act (S. 974), promoting market competition by ensuring timely access to low-cost generics, and the Patient Right to Know Drug Prices Act (S.2554), ensuring that health insurance companies cannot prohibit pharmacists from providing certain information to patients. Senator Baldwin has also fought for caregivers, helping sponsor and pass the Recognize, Assist, Include, Support, and Engage (RAISE) Family Caregivers Act,  which will establish a national coordinated strategy to better support family caregivers.

U.S. Representative Tom Cole (OK-4):
Oklahoma’s 4th District Congressman Tom Cole was first elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2002, and is currently serving his eighth term. He currently serves in prominent positions within the House Appropriations Committee, as Chairman of the Labor, Health and Human Services (LHHS), and as a member of the Defense Subcommittee and Interior Subcommittee.

Congressman Cole also holds membership in the Budget Committee, responsible for developing the annual budget resolution, and the Rules Committee. He is also a member of the MS Caucus, along with other health focused caucuses, and is a strong advocate for increased funding for the National Institute of Health (NIH) and expansion of medical research funding.

Representative Cole has repeatedly committed to advancing bipartisan solutions to improve access to healthcare for all Americans. He has tirelessly worked to expand options for health coverage for Americans—with the goal of seeking to lowering out-of-pocket healthcare costs. He is a consistent, passionate and strong champion of increased federal investment in medical research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), playing a key leadership role in the authorization of a $3 billion funding increase for the 2018 fiscal year. Many attribute his leadership in research funding to his personal experiences, as his wife has lived with multiple sclerosis for over 20 years, while his father battled Alzheimer’s disease.

The National MS Society will present the awards during the 28th annual Public Policy Conference, held March 3-5, where nearly 300 MS activists from across the country will join together in Washington, D.C. to educate elected officials about the needs of people living with MS. Nominations for the honor are open to the public. Awardees are chosen by the National MS Society Board of Directors.

About Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis is an unpredictable, often disabling disease of the central nervous system that disrupts the flow of information within the brain, and between the brain and body. Symptoms range from numbness and tingling to blindness and paralysis. The progress, severity and specific symptoms of MS in any one person cannot yet be predicted, but advances in research and treatment are leading to better understanding and moving us closer to a world free of MS. Most people with MS are diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 50, with at least two to three times more women than men being diagnosed with the disease. MS affects more than 2.3 million people worldwide.

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