HONOLULU - Maui state Sen. Roz Baker has been awarded the National Distinguished Advocacy Award, the most prestigious honor that the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network can present.
The senator, who represents South and West Maui, was recognized for her years of "relentless commitment to strong public health and tobacco control policies," a news release about the award said.
The annual award is given by the network, the advocacy affiliate of the American Cancer Society, to select lawmakers who demonstrate consistent leadership in the area of cancer-related public policy advocacy.
"Senator Baker has always been a champion for cancer issues in the Hawaii state Legislature," said Dr. Melvin Palalay, president of the American Cancer Society Hawaii Pacific corporate board. "There isn't a bill on cancer topics that Senator Baker hasn't authored or been associated with. . . . With her unwavering commitment to fighting cancer through the power of public policy, Senator Baker has positioned Hawaii as a forerunner in the realm of public health."
In 2006, Baker, a cancer survivor herself, worked to pass Hawaii's secondhand smoking law. She also worked to pass oral chemotherapy coverage, colon cancer screening coverage and the state health care exchange coverage-enabling laws.
The Democratic senator also has worked to increase the cigarette tax and to provide funding for tobacco control, cancer research, the University of Hawaii Cancer Center and the John A. Burns School of Medicine.
The nonprofit, nonpartisan network is dedicated to eliminating cancer as a major health problem. For more information, go to its website, www.acscan.org.