U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., received the APHA’s 2012 Distinguished Public Health Legislator of the Year. The award recognizes lawmakers who have championed and taken courageous actions to support public health.
DeLauro has been a tireless advocate for policies that improve the health and well-being of all Americans. She is the ranking member on the Labor, Human Services and Education Appropriations Subcommittee, which has jurisdiction over public health funding. In this role, DeLauro has been a strong champion for funding of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other public health agencies. DeLauro continues to stand up for these important programs and stresses the need for investing in public health during the current challenging economic climate.
DeLauro also continues to press for full implementation of the Affordable Care Act and was a strong advocate for the law’s passage and the inclusion of provisions that protected and improved the lives of low-income children and families. She has long been a supporter of women’s reproductive rights and women’s health programs and spoke out strongly against a proposed amendment to the Affordable Care Act that restricted abortion access.
As the lead sponsor of the Healthy Families Act, which she has introduced several times in the House, DeLauro championed the issue of paid sick leave and its importance to families and public health. She fought hard during the last congressional session for the passage of the Food Safety Modernization Act, which APHA strongly supported, and has introduced legislation to reform the food safety oversight program at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and improve the safety of the nation’s food sources.
DeLauro also is a member of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development and Food and Drug Administrations, where she works to ensure drug and food safety programs have adequate funding. She has been an outspoken advocate for increased funding for anti-hunger programs, including the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, the Women, Infants and Children Program and others.
She supports a transformation in how the Department of Veterans Affairs is funded, including advanced appropriations for health services to ensure its fiscal soundness, and she successfully championed legislation to guarantee troops deploying to combat have mental health screening before and after deployment. She also supported legislation that provides assistance to today’s post-Sept. 11, 2001 veterans choosing to pursue on-the-job training and apprenticeship programs.
Before her terms in Congress, DeLauro was the first executive director of EMILY’S List, a national organization dedicated to increasing the number of women in elected office, executive director of Countdown ’87, the national campaign that successfully stopped U.S. military aid to the Nicaraguan Contras, and as chief of staff to U.S. Sen. Christopher Dodd. She was elected to the House of Representatives in 1990 and has represented Connecticut’s 3rd District ever since.