Senator Patty Murray of Washington is the National Multiple Sclerosis Society’s 2014 U.S. Senator of the Year. Senator Murray’s father – a World War II veteran and a Purple Heart recipient – was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) when Murray was 15 years old. Within a few short years, he was unable to work so Murray’s mother, who had stayed home to raise their family, cared for him while also working to support their family. As such, Senator Murray is a staunch advocate for families affected by MS and a member of the Senate MS Caucus. Amongst her many areas of leadership, Senator Murray urged comprehensive healthcare reform, works to ensure robust funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and is a co-sponsor of the Ensuring Access to Quality Complex Rehabilitation Technology Act.
“Senator Murray is a fervent advocate in the Senate on behalf of everyone affected by MS,” National MS Society President and CEO Cynthia Zagieboylo says. “We applaud her work toward improving the health and independence of people with MS, and for articulating how MS and other complex issues affect everyday American families. We are proud to name her 2014 Senator of the Year.”
Murray has had an enduring relationship with the Society, and she serves on the Greater Northwest Chapter’s Advisory Council: consulting with the chapter president and chair of the local board of trustees. Murray has also advocated for respite care for family caregivers through protection of the Lifespan Respite Care Program and for better overall support for family caregivers of veterans.
“I am proud to be a voice for the many families across the country impacted by this complex disease, including my own,” says Senator Murray. "People living with MS, and their families, need our full support as well as affordable access to the best health care in the world – and I am going to keep fighting for that.”
Since joining the United States Senate in 1993, Senator Murray has made a difference across the country by making healthcare more affordable, protecting consumers, and preserving Medicare and Social Security. As a unique voice in the United States Senate, Murray is known for her down-to-earth, determined style and working across the political aisle to achieve consensus for the betterment of Americans.
Bestowing its highest honor for elected officials, the National MS Society will present Senator Murray with the U.S. Senator of the Year award during its annual Public Policy Conference, running from March 9 to 11, 2015. The event brings more than 325 MS activists from around the country to DC to educate elected officials about needs of people affected by MS.