Dear members and friends,
I’m writing from a hotel room in DC, about to spend the day on Capitol Hill visiting Virginia Members of Congress or their staffs to lend our voice in support of timely passage of the FDA Reauthorization Act, including PDUFA and MDUFA, BSUFA and GUFA, to put in place continued funding and continuing improvements in FDA before current authorizations expire. The FDA Reauthorization Act passed the House last week, and the Senate is considering whether to take it up.
Please write our senators urging them to take the FDA Reauthorization bill up quickly and pass it as is. The Senators’ health legislative assistants are: Marvin Figueroa (Senator Warner) and Kristen Malloy (Senator Kaine).
July brings a new year to Virginia Bio, embodied in a plan and budget forged by staff and our Board of Directors in which we set priorities and goals, and plan our programs and events for the year ahead.
One area of change in the year ahead will be in our public policy efforts, state and federal, and is designed to enable greater engagement by our members directly and through Virginia Bio, thus greater effectiveness in representing our industry.
We are excited to be implementing a tech-enabled way for our members to interact with their elected representatives in a quick, timely and informed way on issues. This is the BioAction policy messaging system developed by BIO and provided to us for the use of our members at no cost. It’s an integrated mobile and social media tool, which allows individuals who choose to sign up to receive updates on federal policy issues, to access background information, and to quickly and easily message their representatives via text, tweet or email their position on the issue. In May we sent Members an email with information on how (it’s easy) to get involved, and we will be working with BIO to incorporate into the BioAction platform coverage and support of pertinent Virginia state policy issues as well. For those of you who want to be engaged, this will be an extraordinary tool. Join this effort now!
We also will be revamping our Virginia Bio state public policy web pages to make them an up-to-date and ready source of concise information on key policy matters impacting the industry. We will draw from a wealth of information from our federal allies BIO, PhRMA, AdvaMed and MDMA and We Work for Health. A very talented University of Richmond senior will intern with us for the year to help collect and summarize and keep the website concise, informative and up-to-date, and issue alerts when needed.
In Virginia, we’ll provide new and purposeful opportunities for our members to interact with members of the General Assembly. During the Session, we’ll hold a series of Bioscience Caucus coffees at the General Assembly during the day. Each event will be themed, and leaders of companies and members of the industry from, for example, a geographic region or an industry sector, will be featured. Legislators and staff, and administration staff, will be invited to drop by; we’ve learned this is far more practical for them and creates a greater impression of presence. We’ll also schedule one or more days during the Session to invite members to Richmond and help them schedule visits with their delegates and Senators, creating a “Capitol Hill Day” for the industry. And we’ll forego our traditional reception and dinners in Richmond because changes in gift laws over the past several years have caused legislators to avoid such events.
Finally, the Virginia gubernatorial election occurs November 7. We have invited the two major candidates Ed Gillespie (Republican) and Lt. Governor Ralph Northam (Democrat) to meet and hear from our members and the bioscience community in a number of different forums over the next several months, and will send out alerts and invites as they are scheduled.
Please contact me if you’d like to be specially involved in our public policy work.