November 4, 2007
— Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, and Rep. Hilda L. Solis, D-Calif., are the recipients of the American Public Health Association (APHA) 2007 Distinguished Public Health Legislator of the Year Awards based on their work in advancing legislation that supports public health priorities.
The awards were presented during the 135th APHA Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C.
Snowe served in the U.S. House of Representatives for 16 years before being elected to the Senate in 1994. She was elected to her third term in 2006.
She is known for her bipartisan efforts and dedication to public health, advocating for reducing the cost of health care, supporting women’s rights and prioritizing access to and quality of care. She has spoken out against cuts to Medicaid and has stressed the importance of rural health centers, family caregivers and energy assistance programs for low-income families.
Snowe supports a woman’s right to choose, stem cell research and higher standards for breast cancer research, among other issues. She has introduced legislation on such issues as supplying health insurance to employees who work for small businesses, prevention of elder abuse, allowing for price negotiations on prescription drugs and funding respite care for family caregivers.
A member of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, Snowe is former chair and now ranking member of its Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries and the Coast Guard. As a member of the Senate Budget Committee, she authored the amendment that create a reserve fund for a Medicare prescription drug benefit.
She has been recognized by Congressional Quarterly for her “centrist leadership” and is co-chair of the Common Ground Coalition, a forum for communication and cooperated between Senate Democrats and Republicans.
Before running for national office, Solis served as a member of the California State Assembly and was the first Hispanic woman elected to the California State Senate. First elected to Congress in 2000, Solis is serving her fourth term and has introduced and supported a number of bills related to public health. Among that legislation was a bill to support the efforts of community health workers by providing grants to states, local or tribal governments and community-based organizations, a measure to prevent teen pregnancy especially in communities of color, and the Safe Drinking Water for Healthy Communities Act of 2007. She strongly supports public and private efforts to ensure that all Americans have basic health literacy skills and is outspoken about the need for health care reform. She also is a champion of the environment.
A former co-chair of the bipartisan Congressional Caucus for Women’s issues, Solis is an advocate for women and families and has worked on such issues as eliminating racial and ethnic health disparities, expanding non-traditional health service programs, protecting Medicaid and the State Children’s Health Insurance Program and covering the uninsured.
She is a member of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Health Task Force and a member of the Democratic Caucus Health and Medicare Task Force and the Congressional Universal Health Care Task Force.