Honorary Co-Chairs

Representative Michael C. Burgess, M.D. (R-TX-26) 
Rep. Michael C. Burgess, M.D. has represented the 26th Congressional District since 2003, and serves as the Republican Leader of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health. He also sits on the Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations and the Subcommittee on Digital Commerce and Consumer Protection, as well as the House Rules Committee. As of the 116th Congress, Rep. Burgess is the most senior medical doctor serving in the U.S. Congress. During his time in Congress, he has advocated to reduce health care costs, improve choices, reform liability laws, and support medical education. Rep. Burgess received his M.D. from the University of Texas Medical School in Houston, a master’s degree in Medical Management from the University of Texas at Dallas, and an honorary Doctorate of Public Service from the University of North Texas Health Sciences Center.

Senator Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA)
Dr. Bill Cassidy is the United States Senator for Louisiana. Bill grew up in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and attended Louisiana State University (LSU) for undergraduate and medical school. In 1990, Bill joined LSU Medical School teaching medical students and residents at Earl K. Long Hospital, a hospital for the uninsured. During this time, he co-founded the Greater Baton Rouge Community Clinic, a clinic providing free dental and health care to the working uninsured. Bill also created a private-public partnership to vaccinate 36,000 greater Baton Rouge area children against Hepatitis B at no cost to the schools or parents. In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, Bill led a group of health care volunteers to convert an abandoned K-Mart building into an emergency health care facility, providing basic health care to hurricane evacuees. In 2006, Bill was elected to the Louisiana State Senate. In 2008, he was elected to the United States House of Representatives to represent Louisiana’s Sixth Congressional District. In 2014, he was elected to the U.S. Senate. He serves on the Finance Committee, the Health, Education, Labor, & Pensions Committee, the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, and the Veterans Affairs committees. Bill is married to Dr. Laura Cassidy and they have three children. Laura is a retired general surgeon specializing in breast cancer. She helped found a public charter school to teach children with dyslexia. Bill, Laura and their family attend church at the Chapel on the Campus.

Representative Diana DeGette (D-CO-1)
Congresswoman Diana DeGette is serving her 12th term in Congress as Representative for the First District of Colorado. DeGette currently serves as chair of the House Energy and Commerce Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee, which oversees our nation’s health care, trade, business, technology, food safety, and consumer protection. Among her Congressional colleagues, DeGette is seen as a leading expert on cutting-edge scientific research and one of the leading voices in the nation’s health care debate. As lead whip, DeGette played a vital role in the reauthorization of the Children’s Health Insurance Program, has fought tirelessly for tough food safety legislation, and was a key player in crafting a comprehensive consumer product safety bill. In 2005, DeGette authored legislation to expand stem-cell research, which Congress approved with strong bipartisan support. She is also the author of the landmark 21st Century Cures Act, which has worked to modernize the nation’s medical research system and has been widely hailed as one of the most important pieces of legislation that Congress has passed in recent years. DeGette recently announced that she has started working on the second iteration of that landmark legislation to expand on its success even further.

Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI)
In the United States Senate, Sheldon Whitehouse has earned a reputation as a fierce advocate for progressive values and a thoughtful legislator capable of reaching across the aisle to achieve bipartisan solutions.  The Providence Journal described Sheldon as “a strong-willed and articulate member of the Senate on national issues and an energetic champion of Rhode Island economic and other interests.” Senator Whitehouse’s work in the Senate has focused on defense of Social Security and Medicare, delivery system reform in our health care system, confronting threats in cyberspace, the health of our oceans and coasts, campaign finance reform, and improved American infrastructure. Whitehouse has been at the center of bipartisan efforts to reform the criminal justice system, overhaul federal education law, and strengthen our nation’s cyber-security protection.  In 2016, his comprehensive legislation to address the nation’s opioid abuse epidemic was signed into law.  A member of the Senate Budget Committee since 2007, he has also worked closely with Republican members of the Committee to improve the Senate budget process. A graduate of Yale University and the University of Virginia School of Law, Sheldon served in senior roles in state government before his appointment by President Clinton as Rhode Island’s United States Attorney in 1994.  Sheldon was elected Attorney General of Rhode Island in 1998, and in 2006 to the Senate, where he serves on the Finance Committee; the Judiciary Committee, the Environment and Public Works Committee; and the Budget Committee. He and his wife Sandra, a marine biologist and environmental advocate, live in Newport.  They have two grown children.