Last month, a small delegation of BioKansas members made their way to Washington DC for the 2018 BIO Fly In. The group was diverse, with representatives from higher education, animal health, agribusiness, industrial biotechnology and human pharmaceuticals, and was fortunate enough to get face time with four of the six Kansas legislators, including Representatives Estes, Marshall and Yoder and Senator Roberts. We hit on diverse topics driven by the interests of our members, including:
- Support of Senate bill S. 2615, “Advancing Emergency Preparedness Through One Health Act of 2018”, and development of Federal funding mechanisms for One Health Research & Initiatives.
- Biobanking of Avian Flu vaccines, to allow for rapid response in the event of another major outbreak
- Reduction of redundant, overlapping and burdensome regulations at organizations such as the FDA, EPA and USDA
- The need to continue to develop a properly skilled workforce in Kansas including in rural areas
- The need to continue to highlight the impact of regional assets such as the Animal Health Corridor, the University of Kansas Cancer Center and the National Bio and Agro-defense Facility (NBAF) while also embracing areas of opportunity such as digital health & pet food
- Support for the Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act
We asked one of the attendees, Jody Donohue, Communications Manager at Ceva Animal Health, to write up a short summary of her first Fly In experience. Read below to get her perspective, and consider joining us in DC for next year’s Fly in. Help us amplify the voice of our industry!
President & CEO, BioKansas
Whether you’re a political junkie who never misses a chance to spend a day in D.C. or a professional or entrepreneur with the desire to be more politically active, the BIO FlyIn is a great opportunity to learn about and talk policy.
The annual BIO Fly In was held on April 17th and 18th this year. BIO, the Biotechnology Innovation Organization, organizes the event which drew nearly 300 individuals from across the U.S. Even if you are a full-time government affairs professional, there is no way to stay informed about all of the legislation which could positively or negatively affect human, animal or plant health. The team at BIO did a great job of highlighting about twenty initiatives important for attendees to be aware of and take time to discuss during our appointments.
From new proposals around the protection of intellectual property to discussions around biofuels and from the need to modernize agencies to funding for public health initiatives, the discussions were diverse but relevant and positive. Many of the topics warrant ongoing conversation between elected officials and their constituents.
One highlight of the day was to present Senator Pat Roberts with an award for his support of Bioscience. Another was the opportunity to discuss a proposal to elevate discussions around One Health initiatives at the federal level.
We are very fortunate to have such an engaged congressional delegation. Many of them were able to take time out of their busy day to discuss bills working their way through Congress and what they could do to support a positive regulatory and business climate.
Besides the opportunity to discuss issues and opportunities, the chance to network with other companies and professionals in this space is outstanding. Our group had the opportunity to spend time with MOBIO the Missouri Biotechnology Association.
This was my first BIO Fly In, but it won’t be my last.
Communications Manager, Ceva Animal Health