National Council Announces 2019 Legislative Award Winners
The National Council for Behavioral Health is pleased to announce this year’s legislative honorees for Hill Day 2019. Each legislator is being recognized for his or her hard work and dedicated commitment to the mental health and addiction community. The National Council will honor each legislator this year at National Council Hill Day on September 17-18 in Washington, D.C.
This year’s Legislators of the Year are:
- REPRESENTATIVE MARKWAYNE MULLIN (R-OK)
- Congressman Markwayne Mullin has been a leader in cultivating bipartisan support for innovative solutions to our country’s most pressing health care needs. One of the most respected members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Congressman Mullin has made clear his commitment to the mental health and addiction treatment community by serving as lead sponsor of the Excellence in Mental Health and Addiction Treatment Expansion Act (H.R. 1767). With Mr. Mullin’s leadership, the CCBHC program has earned multiple short-term extensions from Congress in 2019. The National Council sincerely thanks Congressman Mullin for his leadership and unwavering support for Americans living with mental illness and addiction. We are proud to honor him as our 2019 Legislator of the Year.
- REPRESENTATIVE PAUL TONKO (D-NY)
- A dedicated advocate for quality health care, Representative Paul Tonko has consistently worked to improve the lives of those living with behavioral health conditions. Representative Tonko recently authored the Mainstreaming Addiction Treatment Act (HR 2482), expanding access to medication-assisted treatment (MAT) for individuals living with addiction by removing a major hurdle to prescribing buprenorphine. Removing this waiver barrier would greatly impact rural communities and address a disparity in minority communities having access to MAT. Representative Tonko also recently reintroduced the Medicaid Reentry Act (HR 1329), which would reinstate Medicaid eligibility for incarcerated individuals 30-days prior to their release. For his tireless commitment to people with mental illness and addiction and providers who serve them, the National Council honors Representative Tonko as our 2019 Legislator of the Year.
- REPRESENTATIVE GWEN MOORE (D-WI)
- A champion for public safety and the wellness of all Americans, Congresswoman Gwen Moore recently introduced the National De-Escalation of Violence and Community Safety Training Act of 2019 (H.R. 2457). This bill creates a grant program to provide law enforcement officers the tools they need to respond to people with mental illness in communities across the country. As a part of this important legislation, H.R. 2457 would reauthorize millions of dollars in funding to train law enforcement officers, educators, first responders, and other community leaders in Mental Health First Aid. For her leadership and passionate support for individuals living with mental illness, the National Council honors Representative Moore with our 2019 Legislator of the Year award.
This year’s Behavioral Health Champions are:
- SENATOR RON WYDEN (D-OR)
- As Ranking Member of the influential Senate Finance Committee, Mr. Ron Wyden has consistently prioritized accessible, affordable health care for all Americans. Most recently, Senator Wyden has been a champion and cosponsor of the Excellence in Mental Health and Addiction Treatment Expansion Act (S. 824), extending the Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic demonstration program for two years and expanding the program to include eleven other states that applied but were not originally chosen to participate. For his unwavering support of behavioral health care, the National Council honors Senator Wyden with our 2019 Behavioral Health Champion award.
- SENATOR CHUCK GRASSLEY (R-IA)
- In his current role as Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, Senator Chuck Grassley has overseen multiple extensions of the Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic demonstration, providing access to hundreds of thousands of Americans in need of lifesaving services. Under his leadership, the Finance Committee has continually supported policies and programs that prioritize access and maintain high-quality health care services for all Americans. The National Council sincerely thanks Chairman Grassley for his leadership and courageous advocacy for Americans living with mental illness and addiction. We are proud to honor him as our 2019 Behavioral Health Champion.