Stem Cell Advocates Regroup

By Judy Sarasohn
Thursday, July 27, 2006

President Bush may have vetoed the legislation, but supporters and lobbyists for increased federal support for stem cell research aren't giving up.

"This is never going away," said Michael Manganiello , a longtime advocate for stem cell research.

Just as Bush was preparing to veto the bill, Manganiello and Tricia Brooks left the Christopher Reeve Foundation to join Whyte Hirschboeck Dudek Government Affairs to lobby on stem cell research and other research and medical issues.

Manganiello had worked with Christopher and Dana Reeve to establish their foundation. He is also a past president of the Coalition for the Advancement of Medical Research.

"After Chris and Dana died, I wanted to take what I learned to a bigger platform," he said. Manganiello said he and Brooks will work with clients at the state level as well as speak out politically on stem cell research, which supporters say holds great promise for curing diseases and debilitating conditions.

Alan MacLeod , a principal at WHD, said the lobby shop wanted Manganiello and Brooks because they're "top tier" and can lobby on a host of research issues. The shop's clients include the foundation, the University of Nebraska, the Institute for Creative Technologies, and the Northern California Institute for Research and Education.

Support for India Nuclear Pact Visible

Showing its growing political clout, the Indian American community jumped into the Capitol Hill fray over the U.S.-India nuclear initiative that would eliminate obstacles to U.S. participation in India's civilian nuclear energy sector.

The House was expected last night to approve the deal struck last year by the Bush administration. But the situation in the Senate is much dicier.

Joining other Indian American groups, corporations and lobbyists to push for the accord is a new organization, just three weeks old -- the Indian American Security Leadership Council. The council was formed by Indian American business executives, professionals and others who particularly care about national security issues.

The council ran an ad supporting the accord in Roll Call yesterday, signed by leaders of eight veterans groups, including the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the Gold Star Wives of America. "We urge Congress to complete its work on the pact and lay the groundwork for increased security and cooperation with India because it is in America's future security interests to do so," the ad said.

Bonner & Associates helped frame the national security issue for a grass-roots effort and recruited the vet groups for the ad, which cost $14,700.

"We felt it [national security] was the most important issue. For the next 30 years, our problem will be radical Islam and non-democratic China," said Ramesh V. Kapur , president of the council and a Massachusetts businessman.

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