What it means to be a trailblazer…
Each year, AZBio looks back across the legislative session and the year to identify those leaders whose actions and active community engagement support the growth of Arizona’s life science and healthcare industry and help to ensure the people of Arizona benefit from its success. Scores are then tallied, and the top ten legislative leaders are named that year’s Trailblazers.
“This year’s Trailblazers come from both sides of the aisle and both the Senate and the House. They are champions for quality education, improving healthcare delivery, and supporting the growth of our life science ecosystem,” shared AZBio President & CEO Joan Koerber-Walker.
The 2020 AZBio Trailblazer Honorees are:
- Senator Sean Bowie (LD18)
- Senator Kate Brophy McGee (LD28)
- Senator David Gowan (LD14)
- Senator Tyler Pace (LD25)
- Representative Nancy Barto (LD15)
- Representative Kelli Butler (LD28)
- Representative Regina Cobb, DDS (LD5)
- Representative Daniel Hernandez, Jr. (LD2)
- Representative Amish Shah, MD (LD24)
- Representative Michelle Udall (LD25)
The Champions Award, recognizing a decade of advocacy on behalf of patients and the community will be awarded to Senator Heather Carter (LD15). Past recipients of the Champions Award are then Speaker of the House Andy Tobin (now Director of the Arizona Department of Administration) and then Senator Kimberly Yee (now Treasurer of the State of Arizona.)
Looking forward to 2021
Arizona’s elected leaders play a key role in shaping Arizona’s future. In addition to a ceremony honoring the 2020 Trailblazers, the event will feature a panel of thought leaders discussing key issues related to education, health, and Arizona’s growing innovation economy.
- Senator Sean Bowie serves as a member of the Senate Appropriations, Commerce, and Finance Committees. In addition to these committees, he is intently focused on restoring education investment to our K-12 schools and higher educational institutions. He sponsored three bills that were signed into law over the last two years that provide more mental health support for our children, including the Mitch Warnock Act in 2019, which requires training for suicide prevention for all school personnel working with students in grades 6-12.
- Senator Kate Brophy-McGee serves as chair of the Senate Health and Human Services Committee and as a Member of the Senate Education Committee, the Senate Higher Education and Workforce Development Committee, and as a Member of the Senate Ethics Committee. She is also a member of Arizona’s Bioscience Roadmap Steering Committee. Senator Brophy McGee sponsored and Jake’s Law which requires insurance companies to cover mental health treatment, just like they would with an annual physical. It also creates the Children’s Behavioral Health Services Fund and provides $8 million for behavioral health services for children who are uninsured or underinsured. In 2018, Gov. Doug Ducey signed a bill sponsored by Senator Brophy McGee and Rep. Doug Coleman that extended Prop. 301 funding for K-20 education until 2041, protecting a critical revenue stream that would have expired in June of 2021.
- Senator David Gowan serves as chairman of the Senate Appropriations and as a member of the Natural Resources and Energy, and Water and Agriculture Committees. David Gowan was first elected to the Arizona House of Representatives in 2009. During the 2015-2017 legislative session, he was appointed to be the 52nd Speaker of the House. Thanks to Senator Gowan’s leadership critical funding for health care and R&D was passed and sent to the Governor prior to the earlier than usual adjournment sine die caused by the COVID-19 Pandemic.
- Representative Nancy Barto serves as chair of the House Health and Human Services Committee – responsible for overseeing Arizona’s health and welfare agencies and boards, as well as a member of the Judiciary and Education Committees. She has sponsored health care reforms aimed at increasing affordable health insurance options, bills to protect patients from unfair billing practices, worked to protect patient privacy rights, actively advocates on issues related to women’s health, and has been a voice for reform in Arizona’s foster care and behavioral health systems.
- Representative Kelly Butler serves as a member of the Health and Human Services, Commerce, and Technology Committees. She believes Arizonans deserve access to high quality, affordable health care and advocates for simple solutions the State Legislature can achieve and works with patient advocacy organizations to better understand the needs of Arizona’s at-risk populations.
- Representative Daniel Hernandez, Jr. serves on the Public Safety and State & International Affairs Committees. He is co-founder of the Arizona Legislative Bioscience and Healthcare Caucus, a member of Arizona’s Bioscience Roadmap Steering Committee, and is the co-founder of the LGBT Caucus.
- Representative Amish Shah, MD currently serves on the Health and Human Services and Regulatory Committees. He is currently board certified in Emergency Medicine and Sports Medicine and practices throughout Arizona, treating adults and children. In the Legislature, he has sponsored legislation to address the challenges that the practice of prior authorization by health insurers creates for patients and their healthcare teams and co-sponsored a bill with Representative Barto to address the challenges Step Therapy policies by insurance companies creates for patients.
The panel will be moderated by Joan Koerber-Walker, president & CEO of the Arizona Bioindustry Association.
For 17 years, the Arizona Bioindustry Association (AZBio) has supported life science innovation and life science innovators in Arizona. A key component in Arizona’s life science ecosystem, AZBio is the only statewide organization exclusively focused on Arizona’s bioscience industry. AZBio membership includes patient advocacy organizations, life science innovators, educators, healthcare partners and leading business organizations. AZBio is the statewide affiliate of the Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO) and works in partnership with AdvaMed, MDMA, and PhRMA to advance innovation and to ensure that the value delivered from life-changing and life-saving innovation benefits people in Arizona and around the world.