Created by on 10/15/2012

With Congress spending less time on Capitol Hill in the lead up to the November elections, members of the leadership of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB) have taken full advantage of the long breaks to engage in advocacy activities in their own backyard. Over the last month, FASEB Board representatives met with members of Congress and their staff in their home towns and participated in public forums with candidates running for office. To emphasize the local impact of federal funding for research in states and individual districts, Board members shared the new FASEB NIH district fact sheets (see related story in this newsletter) with lawmakers and their aides.
On the East Coast, FASEB President Judith S. Bond, PhD attended a lunch with Senator Robert Casey (D-PA) on September 29th in Hershey, PA. As a leader of the effort to increase funding for NIH, Senator Casey is well aware of the importance of medical research to Pennsylvania’s economy. Dr. Bond thanked the Senator for his long-time support of the biomedical research community and shared her concerns about how budget cuts will impede NIH’s ability to support exciting scientific opportunities. 
FASEB Vice President for Science Policy and American Physiological Society (APS) member Joseph R. Haywood, PhD attended a September 25th forum featuring the candidates for Michigan’s 8th congressional district seat. Current Representative Mike J. Rogers (R-MI) debated his Democratic opponent Lance Enderle at Cleary University in Howell, Michigan. Before the debate began, Dr. Haywood spoke with Representative Rogers and a senior aide about the amount of NIH funding received by researchers at Michigan State University (MSU) and the importance of federal support for the Michigan Research Corridor. They also discussed the Department of Energy’s Facility for Rare Isotope Beams nuclear physics project, which is located on MSU’s campus. Representative Rogers mentioned the impact of federal research funding in the 8th district and the jobs it supplies at least three times during the debate. 
The Federation’s advocacy activities in the Midwest were enhanced by APS Board representative and University of Wisconsin Madison (UWM) professor Hannah V. Carey, PhD who met with senior staff from Representative Tammy Baldwin’s (D-WI) office and former Wisconsin Governor and Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson’s Senate campaign. Representative Baldwin is currently running against Thompson for the Senate seat being vacated by Herb Kohl (D-WI). Dr. Carey discussed federally funded research taking place throughout Wisconsin and specific projects underway at the UWM campus. She also emphasized how devastating the proposed NIH cuts would be to Wisconsin research institutions if sequestration goes into effect in January. Following that meeting, Dr. Carey visited with state Representative Mark Pocan, who is a candidate to replace Baldwin in the U.S. House. Mr. Pocan mentioned that he had been to some research labs on campus and was well aware of what UWM brought to the region, the district, and the state.
In California, Hudson Freeze, PhD, the Society for Glycobiology’s representative to the FASEB Board, attended a September 8th candidate forum in San Diego featuring Nick Popaditch, a Republican running against Representative Susan Davis (D-CA) for the 53rd district House seat and Scott Peters, the Democratic challenging 52nd district Representative Brian Bilbray (R-CA). During a “meet and greet” session prior to the forum, Dr. Freeze asked Mr. Popaditch what he would do to increase federal funding for NIH given that the greater San Diego area is a major center for biomedical research in the country. Scott Peters did not take questions from the audience but mentioned the importance of investing in research and education during his opening remarks.
FASEB leaders will continue their district meetings during the current Congressional recess. In mid-October, Teratology Society Board representative Belen Tornesi, DVM will participate in events at Abbott Laboratories with Representative Robert Dold (R-IL) and Democrat Brad Schneider, the candidates for Illinois 10th congressional district seat.
FASEB President Dr. Judith Bond with U.S. Senator Robert Casey (D-PA) at a luncheon on September 29, 2012.