Have you ever felt that political polarization in Congress makes it hard to get your message through? If you have, you’re not alone.
This year at the National Council’s Public Policy Institute and Hill Day, we are pleased to welcome the Honorable Gordon H. Smith as one of our keynote speakers. Senator Smith will tackle the question of how to work across party lines to raise the profile of mental health and addiction issues in Congress.
Senator Smith, a Republican from Oregon, served in the U.S. Senate from 1997-2009. During his time in office, he continually demonstrated his commitment to protecting our nation’s health care safety net by working with his Republican and Democratic colleagues to save and improve the Medicaid and SCHIP programs. He was also instrumental in enacting the 2008 Paul Wellstone-Pete Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addictions Equity Act, which prohibits the discriminatory treatment of mental health and addictions benefits in health insurance plans.
Senator Smith’s personal leadership was also critical in securing the passage of the Garrett Lee Smith Memorial Act, which is named in memory of his son. Throughout his tenure in the Senate, he was a constant and vocal advocate for helping states and communities develop the infrastructure needed to help prevent suicide. Senator Smith is President of the National Association of Broadcasters.
Working together, advocates can raise Congress’ awareness of our nation’s mental health and addiction treatment needs. And together, we can win bipartisan support for policies that support a strong behavioral health safety net.