Winter 2013 Contents

Winter 2013
PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE
By Representative Joe Armstrong (TN), NBCSL President currently serves as the 10th President of the National Black Caucus of State Legislators (NBCSL). Representative Armstrong began his political career in 1982 as the youngest member of the Knox County Commission and was elected to the Tennessee General Assembly in 1988. He has served as Chair of the Health and Human Resources committee, Chair of the Tennessee Black Caucus of State Legislators, and was appointed to the White House Health Task Force on Health Reform. Throughout his tenure, Representative Armstrong has sponsored key legislation to improve the quality of life for all citizens of the State of Tennessee, including the Meharry Wellness Program, the Tennessee Health Safety Net Program, and the Tennessee Pre-K Program.
FROM THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
By LaKimba B. DeSadier, NBCSL Executive Director has served as the Executive Director for NBCSL since 2003. She has worked to promote the organization in state legislatures, as well as increase its membership and visibility nationwide.
PUBLISHER:
National Black Caucus of
State Legislators
EDITOR: CommonHealth ACTION™
DESIGN: Conceptual Geniuses™

Material contained in The Legislator Magazine does not necessarily represent the position of the National Black Caucus of State Legislators. All material in The Legislator is protected by copyright. No part of the text or images may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means without the prior and express permission of the publisher. For permission to reprint articles, please contact NBCSL at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Perspectives

  • By Lauren E. Williams, NBCSL Communications and Research Associate serves as NBCSL’s Communications and Research Associate. She was formerly a Chief of Staff and Communications for an Atlanta City Councilmember and has provided communications and media support to elected officials and government officials on several levels including municipal, state, and national. Ms. Williams holds a master’s in Public Administration, a bachelor’s in Communications and Rhetoric, and served as a Communications Fellow and Diversity Program Fellow at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Congressional Research Service, respectively.
  • LEGISLATOR PERSPECTIVE
    By Senator Connie Johnson (OK), Chair, NBCSL Health and Human Services Committee a 33-year veteran of the legislative process, served for 24 years as legislative health policy staff, and has served eight years as a senator of Oklahoma City’s predominantly African American “Eastside.” She focuses on issues that disproportionately affect the economic and social well-being of the state’s poor, minorities, women and children, from a health and mental health, and human services focus. Senator Johnson chairs the Senate Democrats Outreach Committee and is immediate past chair of the Oklahoma Legislative Black Caucus. An immediate past officer of NBCSL, Senator Johnson currently serves a Chair of NBCSL’s Health and Human Services Committee. 
  • By Senator Willie Simmons (MS), Vice Chair, NBCSL Health and Human Services Committee has served in the Mississippi Legislature since 1993. He serves on many legislative committees and is currently the chair of Highways and Transportation Committee. For NBCSL, Senator Simmons also serves as Vice Chair of the Health and Human Services Committee.
  • By Representative Mia Jones (FL), Vice Chair, NBCSL Health and Human Services Committee was elected to the Florida House of Representatives in 2008 and re-elected subsequently ever since. From 2012 – 2014 she served as Democratic Leader Pro Tempore. For NBCSL, Representative Jones serves as Vice Chair of the Health and Human Services Committee. Prior to her election to the Florida State Legislature, Representative Jones served on the Jacksonville City Council from 2003-2008.
  • By Catherine Hess, Managing Director for Coverage and Access, National Academy for State Health Policy is Managing Director for Coverage and Access with the National Academy for State Health Policy (NASHP), a non-partisan non-profit organization that works with both executive and legislative branch state policymakers to promote excellence in state health policy and practice. Catherine has decades of experience in health policy at both state and national levels, and currently oversees work on eligibility and enrollment, benefits, access and the safety net, and health care reform. For more information about NASHP, visit www.nashp.org, and for more on state implementation visit NASHP’s open forum at www.statereforum.org.
  • By Okianer Christian Dark, JD, Dean of Howard University Law School, George Washington University is Interim Dean and Professor of Law at Howard University School of Law (HUSL). She served as Associate Dean for Academic Affairs at HUSL for six years before her current position.  She specializes in and teaches courses on Torts, Products Liability, Advanced Torts and Health Law. Dean Dark is the former Chair of the Montgomery County Commission on Health, founding Trustee of the Northwest Health Foundation in Portland, OR, and is engaged in a public/private partnership that extends primary care to uninsured adults in Montgomery County, MD. As a professor at the T.C. Williams School of Law, University of Richmond, VA, she became the first African American tenured at the School of Law.  Dean Dark received her J.D. from Rutgers-Newark University School of Law, Newark, NJ and is a member of the New Jersey and Pennsylvania Bars. and Perry W. Payne, Jr., MD, JD, MPP, Professor, George Washington University
  • By Donna Hubbard McCree, PhD, MPH, RPh, Associate Director for Health Equity, Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention, National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention (NCHHSTP) at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is the Associate Director for Health Equity, Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention, National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention (NCHHSTP) at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) [zyr1@cdc.gov; (404) 639-1834]. and Jonathan Mermin, MD, MPH, Director for Health Equity, Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention, National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention (NCHHSTP) at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
  • By Councilwoman Jacquelyn E. Johnson, East Orange, NJ, Chair, National Black Caucus of Local Elected Officials was elected in 2000 and is currently serving her fourth consecutive term representing the Second Ward. She is serving as the City Council Vice-Chair for the 2013 Session. During the 2003 Session, she served as Chairwoman of the City’s legislative body. Councilwoman Johnson is a member of the National League of Cities’ (NLC) Board of Directors, NLC Finance Committee and is President of the NLC’s National Black Caucus of Local Elected Officials (NBC-LEO). She has served on the NLC Community and Economic Development Committee and served as its Vice Chair and Chair.

Highlights

  • By David L. Casey, Vice President, Workforce Strategies and Chief Diversity Officer serves as Vice President of Workforce Strategies and Chief Diversity Officer for CVS Caremark. Casey is responsible for developing and driving diversity and engagement strategies across the company and is focused on ensuring that diversity and inclusion are embedded into CVS Caremark’s recruitment, colleague engagement, talent systems and marketplace strategies.
  • By Dr. Mark Yazer, Associate Professor of Pathology, University of Pittsburgh and Medical Director, Centralized Transfusion Service is an Associate Professor of Pathology at the University of Pittsburgh and is the medical director of the red blood cell serology reference laboratory at the Centralized Transfusion Service in Pittsburgh. Dr. Yazer was not compensated for writing this article and he is on the scientific advisory boards or speaker’s bureau of Novartis, Grifols, Octaplas, Ortho J&J.
  • By Ajenai Clemmons, MPP, NBCSL Policy Director serves as NBSCL’s policy director. She was formerly the ombudsman for Denver’s Office of the Independent Monitor, where she helped establish a civilian agency that monitors police and sheriff internal affairs investigations. She has worked in the Iowa State Legislature as well as non-profit and private sectors. Ms. Clemmons holds a Master of Public Policy and B.A. in International Relations, Spanish, and Latin American History.
  • NBCSL EVENTS: 20TH ANNUAL BLACK AMERICA’S DIALOGUE ON HEALTH
    By Jennifer Blemur, Esq., NBCSL Policy Associate serves as a Policy Associate for NBCSL. Ms. Blemur staffs several committees including Health and Human Services and Law, Justice, and Ethics. A recently barred lawyer in the state of Maryland, Ms. Blemur maintains a passion for justice and fair play for the underserved. Prior to joining NBCSL, Ms. Blemur worked with the U.S. Committee on the Judiciary and the U.S. Committee on Homeland Security for the U.S. House of Representatives.
  • By NBCSL
  • By Michael D. Reed, NBCSL Policy Analyst serves as a Policy Analyst for NBCSL. Prior to joining NBCSL, Mr. Reed worked for the National Conference of State Legislatures where he managed policy development, lobbying, and federal affairs on education, labor, and trade issues. Mr. Reed’s previous government experience includes serving as an aide in the U.S. Senate for four years and as an aide in the New Jersey Governor’s Office.
  • NBCSL EVENTS: STANDING ON COMMON GROUND SYMPOSIUM
    By Michael D. Reed, NBCSL Policy Analyst serves as a Policy Analyst for NBCSL. Prior to joining NBCSL, Mr. Reed worked for the National Conference of State Legislatures where he managed policy development, lobbying, and federal affairs on education, labor, and trade issues. Mr. Reed’s previous government experience includes serving as an aide in the U.S. Senate for four years and as an aide in the New Jersey Governor’s Office.