16 Aug Stem cell research holds the promise for tomorrow
Madison, Wis. – Last week, the nation marked the five-year anniversary of President Bush’s senseless restrictions on stem cell research. Those restrictions have unquestionably set back the progress of this promising research, scientists and experts say.
When Congress passed legislation that would have lifted President Bush’s restrictions, there was renewed hope among families whose loved ones are suffering from a wide range of debilitating diseases from Alzheimer’s to Parkinson’s to multiple sclerosis and cancer.
Unfortunately, Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives smashed that hope when they voted to uphold President Bush’s veto of this critical legislation. It was the first veto of his presidency, but it has far-reaching implications for our state, our country, and for millions of families around the world who hold out hope that stem cell research may one day unlock cures to diseases once thought incurable.
Recently, I have met many of those families here in Wisconsin.
Last month, I met 10-year-old Andy from Waukesha. Andy was diagnosed with diabetes when he was two years old, and will be insulin dependent until a cure for diabetes is found. Since his diagnosis, Andy has had more than 18,000 finger pokes and over 7,300 insulin shots.
I also met Rachel from Eau Claire, Kara from Stevens Point, Justin from Cottage Grove, Shannon and Hannah from Eau Claire, and Christopher from Green Bay. They are wonderful young people – all of whom are dealing with juvenile diabetes – and they understand what this research means to them and to others like them.
I can’t imagine ever saying to them or their parents that we are going to turn our backs on science that could change their lives.
I can’t imagine anything more important than pursuing research that could help these families, or anything more irresponsible than wanting to shut it down.
President Bush and his allies in the House of Representatives may have – for now – dashed the hopes of these families, but here in Wisconsin, we will not give up the fight.
Wisconsin is the birthplace of stem cell research and home to world-leading scientists who are pioneering this field. The President’s restrictions have hampered research across the country, but Wisconsin remains in an excellent position to lead.
I have set a goal for our state to capture 10 percent of the stem cell market by 2015. I’ve proposed a new $375 million research institute in Madison that will become a world leader in the stem cell field – and construction plans are moving forward.
Republicans in the Legislature have attempted to throw up new roadblocks to the work we’re doing in Wisconsin. That would be a terrible mistake, and I won’t hesitate to continue using my veto pen against their extreme proposals if that’s what it takes to protect this important research.
Together, we’ll find cures to diseases and disabilities that we once thought were impossible, we’ll reject junk science and extremist ideology, and we’ll help families whose lives have been turned upside-down by watching their loved ones suffer.
The moms and dads I’ve met aren’t Democrats. They’re not Republicans. They’re just parents. All they want is what’s right for their kid.
It’s time to end the political opposition to stem cell research. Let scientists do their jobs so families can have a reason to hope.
The opinions expressed herein or statements made in the above column are solely those of the author, & do not necessarily reflect the views of Wisconsin Technology Network, LLC. (WTN). WTN, LLC accepts no legal liability or responsibility for any claims made or opinions expressed herein.