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Members of Congress praise profession at WLC

Grassroots awards honor dental advocates

May 21, 2014

By Craig Palmer

Sen. Cardin: “I come here first to thank you for what you do every day.”

Capitol view: Drs. Michael Biermann (left) and Patrick Hagerty pause after meeting with Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden’s staff during the WLC.

Rep. Peter Roskam: Thanked the group for supporting his colleague, Rep. Mike Simpson.

Rep. Mike Simpson: The Idaho dentist came to the WLC meeting the day of the Idaho primary, which he won.
Washington—Members of Congress came to the May 19-21 Washington Leadership Conference to praise the profession.

"I come here first to thank you for what you do every day," Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Md., told the dental leaders May 20. Introduced by Dr. Diane Romaine, he praised his constituent as "an outstanding professional in an area short of health professionals" and for "giving back to her community."

"It's important that oral health be part of the conversation," said Rep. Robin Kelly, D-Ill., who introduced the ADA-backed Action for Dental Health Act. "My bill aligns with several activities of ADA's nationwide Action for Dental Health."

"I deeply appreciate the work you do," said Rep. Peter Roskam, R-Ill., who came to praise a dentist, Rep. Mike Simpson, R-Idaho, as "a great colleague but beyond that he's been a great member of Congress" and to thank the dental leaders for supporting Rep. Simpson's campaign for re-election.

Rep. Simpson came to the WLC on the day of his contested primary election in Idaho to join the ADA and Army Dental Corps leadership in thanking Judy Sherman, recently retired director of congressional affairs in ADA's Washington Office, for her service to the profession, Congress and military research. "I'd rather be here honoring Judy than to be in Idaho because there's not a lot I can do in Idaho today. Hopefully it will end well tonight."

And it did, with the incumbent congressman winning a reported 62 percent of the May 20 Republican primary vote.

When not listening to political insights from Washington leaders, many of the 523 WLC registrants canvassed Capitol Hill to offer information to members of Congress and key congressional staff on legislative and regulatory issues important to the profession.

Dr. Patrick Hagerty, Dr. Michael Biermann and Oregon Dental Association executive director Conor McNulty found Sen. Ron Wyden's staffer, Justin Smith, M.D., receptive to information on the Affordable Care Act's Medicaid recovery audit contractor program, student loan reform legislation and the ADA-backed Action for Dental Health bill. Sen. Wyden, D-Ore., chairs the Finance Committee.

Also on the conference agenda were Grassroots Advocate Awards, which were announced at the WLC breakfast May 20. They included ADPAC membership awards to:

  • Single state district with highest participation, Illinois;
  • Multistate district with highest participation, 5th District—Alabama, Georgia and Mississippi;
  • Single state district with highest total receipts, New York;
  • Multistate district with highest total receipts, 11th District—Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Washington.

Dr. Charles McGinty, ADPAC chair-elect, announced two awards "for outstanding individuals:"

  • Dr. David White, one of 32 new dentists at the 2014 WLC. "For the first year the ADPAC Board has decided to recognize a new dentist who has excelled in the field of advocacy. Our new dentists are the future of our profession and will ultimately be responsible for the future of oral health care and dentistry. The most outstanding new dentist advocate will be a dentist that has contributed to ADPAC, met with members of Congress and had a great influence on elected representatives."

  • Dr. Gary Oyster, the Jack Wilson Award named for ADPAC's founder. "This award is not given every year and is given at the sole discretion of the ADPAC Board. The award is presented in recognition of outstanding service to the American Dental Political Action Committee and federal political activities on behalf of organized dentistry. ADPAC chooses to present this prestigious award in honor of the tremendous amount of time and energy that an individual dedicates to ADPAC."