A luncheon with Senator Tim Johnson on Capitol Hill completed an eventful last week for NOFAS and its partners. NOFAS affiliates began their annual summit on Monday evening with a dinner featuring the latest news on FASD prevention and intervention from each affiliate organizations around the country. At an all day session on Tuesday affiliates heard about successful affiliate projects and discussed a new committee structure to determine and carry out network priorities.
Wednesday focused on advocacy. After a morning briefing on policy priorities and an orientation for new advocates, members met with their congressional delegations to discuss pending and proposed FASD legislation in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, explore other legislative opportunities to advance the issue, and to ask that FASD appropriations be continued. During the evening Leadership Awards Benefit, Senator Lisa Murkowski, co-sponsor of the Senate FASD bill, S.237, commended advocates and urged them to redouble their efforts to convince their Senators to sign-up as bill sponsors.
Dr. Luther Robinson and Mark Shurtleff were both overdue as this year’s honorees. Robinson, a professor of pediatrics at Women and Children’s Hospital of Buffalo, is a giant in the FASD field as a researcher and practitioner. Shurtleff, the former Attorney General of Utah, was emotional throughout his remarks as he shared stories about his daughter and the challenges she and their family have faced living with FASD.
Key NOFAS donors attended the intimate lunch on Thursday with Senator Johnson. As cosponsor with Senator Murkowski of numerous FASD bills and a champion of FASD prevention throughout his long public service career in South Dakota and Washington, Johnson shared his thoughts about FASD and the issues of the day on Capitol Hill.