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(Senate - May 24, 2012)

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[Pages S3622-S3625]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office []


 Mr. HOEVEN. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent to have 
printed the attached statement in the Congressional Record.
  There being no objection, the material was ordered to be printed in 
the Record, as follows:

  Recognizing The Leadership To Keep Children Alcohol Free Foundation

       Mr. HOEVEN. Mr. President, today it is my honor to 
     recognize the accomplishments of a group of dedicated 
     volunteers who have devoted extensive time, resources and 
     energy toward the worthy effort of helping our children avoid 
     the pitfalls of alcohol dependence and binge drinking. The 
     Leadership To Keep Children Alcohol Free Foundation is a 
     unique coalition of current and former Governors' spouses, 
     Federal agencies, and public and private organizations united 
     in their goal to prevent the use of alcohol by children

[[Page S3623]]

     ages nine to fifteen. It is the only national effort that 
     focuses on alcohol use in this age group. Childhood drinking 
     leads to adolescent alcohol abuse, and in my state of North 
     Dakota, I want to acknowledge that the rate of alcohol abuse 
     among young people is an ongoing challenge that we must 
     address. For this reason especially, I am motivated by a 
     sense of duty and public concern to extend my gratitude to 
     the volunteers of this Foundation and enter into the 
     Congressional Record a comprehensive summary of the 
     accomplishments and impact that this Foundation has achieved 
     from 2000 to 2012 for the families of my state and our 
       I would like to provide some background on how this 
     Foundation came to be. In partnership with The Robert Wood 
     Johnson Foundation (RWJF) and in response to childhood 
     drinking as a national public health threat, the National 
     Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), an 
     institute of the National Institutes of Health charged with 
     research on alcohol abuse and its causes, the many medical 
     and social consequences of heavy drinking, and approaches to 
     new prevention and treatment, established the Leadership 
     Initiative in 2000. The initiative would engage First Spouses 
     in each state, with the underlying assumption that top-level 
     state leadership could serve as a collective and powerful 
     force to bring the scope and dangers of early alcohol use to 
     the public's attention and to mobilize National, State, and 
     local action to prevent it. And thus, it was launched as a 
     national initiative in 2000 and subsequently evolved in 2004 
     as The Leadership To Keep Children Alcohol Free Foundation 
     with a non-profit, non-partisan membership of over 50 current 
     and former governors' spouses.
       The seamless transition from the Initiative into the 
     Foundation enabled the work of the Leadership Initiative to 
     continue without interruption. Its purpose, membership, and 
     accomplishments remained the same. That is, its purpose is to 
     support the efforts of current Governor's spouses or their 
     representatives, both in their states and nationally, to 
     prevent or reduce underage drinking, especially among the 9 
     15 year old population.
       This multiyear, multimillion-dollar initiative provided 
     support to participating Governors' spouses, who conveyed the 
     initiative's messages within their States and nationally 
     through State policy briefings, outreach to and through the 
     media, broad distribution of educational materials and public 
     service announcements, and personal appearances. Both the RWJ 
     and NIAAA funding ended in 2007.
       Leadership membership has always been composed of 
     Governors' spouses or their designate that are also 
     prosecutors, judges, educators, business leaders, substance 
     abuse prevention specialists, and parents. They often act as 
     a point of contact in their state conveying news about their 
     state's underage drinking prevention initiatives, and also 
     taking information back to their constituency. The Leadership 
     initiative provides members with a source of information to 
     use as they reach out to these audiences.
       At this time, The Leadership Foundation has 26 current 
     spouses as members, 22 emeritus spouses as members, and 20 
     Partners of like-minded organizations.
       I will now offer to you, Mr. President, the major 
     accomplishments of The Leadership Foundation form 2000 
     through 2011. As originally conceptualized, The Leadership to 
     Keep Children Alcohol Free Foundation has been uniquely 
     qualified to help move the conversation around underage 
     drinking to a higher level and broader audience. Its niche 
     has been its ability to educate and engage policy makers at 
     all levels. Its non-partisan membership of over 50 current 
     and former governors' spouses has allowed it to influence the 
     debate over childhood drinking both nationally and within 
       It has been remarkably successful in a relatively short 
     time. Many organizations and experts in the field of 
     prevention view the Governors' spouses' work on childhood 
     drinking as key in placing childhood and underage drinking 
     front and center on the national agenda. Often in 
     collaboration with national and state partners, The 
     Leadership Foundation has accomplished our purpose by voicing 
     concerns in national conversations on related issues; 
     providing ongoing support of First Spouse underage prevention 
     activity within their respective states; maintaining timely 
     contact and delivery of information on underage drinking; and 
     distributing resources/tools to assist the efforts of First 
     Spouses in their states.
       In the first few years of formation (2000 2005), members of 
     the Leadership to Keep Children Alcohol Free initiative 
     worked extensively at the federal level in support of a 
     federal collaborative effort to address underage drinking. 
     During that period, members engaged in the following 
     activities: encouraged Congress to call for the National 
     Academy of Science's Institute of Medicine Report on Underage 
     Drinking; worked with several US Surgeon Generals to produce 
     the Call to Action to Prevent and Reduce Underage Drinking; 
     provided information related to the STOP Act of 2006; 
     testified before several Congressional Committees, served as 
     key partners in April is Alcohol Awareness Month activities 
     with the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence 
     (NCADD); served on the Advisory Councils of Substance Abuse 
     and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), Center 
     for Substance Abuse Prevention (CSAP), Center for Substance 
     Abuse Treatment (CSAT), National Institute on Alcoholism and 
     Alcohol Abuse (NIAAA), Safe and Drug Free Schools and 
     Communities Act, Drug Free Communities Act, and NIAAA's 
     Steering Committee for Underage Drinking Research Initiative, 
     and the board of the National Center on Addiction and 
     Substance Abuse at Columbia University (CASA); garnered 
     national media attention in newspapers and magazines; and 
     worked with the National Attorneys Generals Association's 
     Youth Access to Alcohol standing committee to convince the 
     alcohol industry not to advertise to youth.
       In addition to the aforementioned national accomplishments 
     and activities, the Leadership Foundation provides ongoing 
     service to its membership through such activities as 
     providing ongoing support of underage drinking prevention 
     activities by First Spouses within their respective states.
       Annually, a one-day seminar is held for Leadership 
     membership, usually in conjunction with the winter Community 
     Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA) conference. SAMHSA/
     CSAP and NABCA have been strong supporters of the Prevention 
     Days. In 2010, the Center for Substance Abuse Prevention, 
     National Institute on Alcohol, Abuse and Alcoholism, National 
     Alcohol Control Beverage Association, Shinnyo-en Foundation, 
     Wyoming Association of Sheriffs and Chiefs of Police, Paxis 
     Institute, International Survey Associates/Pride Survey, The 
     Christopher D. Smithers Foundation Inc., and State Farm 
     Insurance Company provided financial support for the 10th 
     anniversary education seminar in Washington DC in February. 
     At these annual events, speakers are engaged to provide 
     latest research news on products such as alcohol energy 
     drinks, coalition creation and maintenance, and minimum 
     drinking age laws.
       In 2008 and 2009, with financial support from SAMHSA, the 
     Leadership Foundation organized thirteen state visits for the 
     US Surgeon General to promote his Call to Action to Prevent 
     and Reduce Underage Drinking. The Leadership Foundation 
     President, Hope Taft, accompanied the Surgeon General on the 
     visits at the invitation of the First Spouses, and/or their 
     designate. At these state visits, First Spouses convened and 
     encouraged statewide partnerships to address underage 
     drinking within their respective states through such 
     activities as the following:
       In Hawaii, the Lieutenant Governor James R. ``Duke'' Aiona, 
     Jr., Co-Chair of Leadership to Keep Children Alcohol Free, 
     hosted the Surgeon General's visit to Hawaii to promote the 
     Call to Action. They provided media interviews; visited an 
     inner-city Honolulu elementary school, where Lt. Governor 
     Aiona conducted a teach-in, engaging students in an 
     interactive, lively discussion and delivering a presentation 
     on Too Smart to Start, a SAMHSA-sponsored underage alcohol 
     use prevention initiative; met with Hawaii Governor Linda 
     Lingle to discuss the Call to Action; met with the Hawaii 
     Partnership to Prevent Underage Drinking (HPPUD); and 
     attended a Town Hall meeting sponsored by HPPUD at which 120 
     university researchers, health care providers, Department of 
     Health officials, policymakers, law enforcement personnel, 
     educators, business representatives, members of the faith-
     based community, youth, and parents were in attendance.
       In Maine, the First Lady Karen Baldacci and the Surgeon 
     General met with the Governor and Maine legislators in the 
     Senate and House of Representatives, Maine's Attorney 
     General, and community leaders. The Surgeon General also gave 
     a keynote address at the annual New England School of 
     Addiction Studies. As part of Maine's response to the Call to 
     Action, the Department of Health and Human Services Office of 
     Substance Abuse (OSA) announced the second phase of a 
     statewide media campaign, ``Find Out More, Do More,'' 
     targeted to parents.
       In Nebraska, the First Lady Sally Ganem and the Surgeon 
     General provided several speaking engagements with teachers, 
     parents, students, and community leaders. Follow-up 
     activities included the following: twenty-one town hall 
     meetings were held in the spring of 2008; the Nebraska Liquor 
     Control Commission requested that Nebraska wholesalers limit 
     pocket-sized liquor containers until an investigative panel 
     evaluates the product's appeal to youth; the First Lady 
     raised funds to make a video of the Acting Surgeon General's 
     Town Hall Meeting for distribution throughout the State; 
     officials and other stakeholders developed a Nebraska ``call 
     to action'' on underage drinking; Nebraska Educational 
     Television (NET) developed a 30-minute documentary on 
     underage drinking featuring First Lady Sally Ganem; and the 
     First Lady and University of Nebraska's Coach Bo Pelini 
     developed PSAs to be shown during every high school sports 
     events covered by NET. The PSAs are expected to reach more 
     than 85,000 people with a message about underage drinking.
       In New Mexico, the First Lady Barbara Richardson and the 
     Surgeon General provided a medical round table discussion, a 
     public forum in Santa Fe about underage drinking, and a 
     lecture in Albuquerque as part of Governor Bill Richardson's 
     DWI Research Speaker Series.
       In North Carolina, during the Surgeon General's visit, the 
     First Lady Mary Easley announced the states ``Media Ready'' 
     program, a media literacy substance abuse prevention program 
     that is taught in middle schools. They also met with State 
     legislators, policy makers, education leaders, and 
     representatives from the Governor's Office,

[[Page S3624]]

     the judicial system, law enforcement, and health and 
     substance abuse prevention organizations that work on the 
     State and local levels to address underage drinking in North 
     Carolina. In addition, the Surgeon General spoke about the 
     Call to Action at North Carolina State University's 
     Millennium Seminar.
       In North Dakota, the First Lady Mikey Hoeven and the 
     Surgeon General provided an address at the 2007 Alcohol and 
     Substance Abuse Summit in Bismarck and visited a middle 
     school where the Surgeon General spoke to students.
       In Ohio, the First Lady Frances Strickland hosted the 
     Surgeon General's visit that included an address to college 
     and university presidents, as well as an address to the 
     prevention and treatment professionals in Ohio.
       In Oklahoma, the Surgeon General spoke at several events 
     including a town hall meeting at the Oklahoma History Center 
     in Oklahoma City, and an address at the University of 
     Oklahoma College of Public Health.
       In Oregon, the Surgeon General and the Oregon Attorney 
     General spoke at a news conference on underage drinking where 
     the Attorney General announced he was reconstituting a State 
     underage-drinking task force to examine binge drinking on 
     college campuses, energy drinks that contain alcohol, and the 
     possible creation of a driver's license suspension program 
     for minors caught with alcohol.
       In Wyoming, the First Lady Nancy Freudenthal hosted the 
     Surgeon General's visit that included a news conference at 
     the annual meeting of the National Prevention Network, a 
     meeting on Wind River Reservation to discuss underage 
     drinking, and participation at a Town Hall Meeting on the 
     Central Wyoming Campus that highlighted not only the Surgeon 
     General's information but also the prevention efforts under 
     way across the State. This event also served as the kick-off 
     meeting for the national Town Halls. In addition, Wyoming 
     Public Television taped a discussion of underage drinking 
     issues including the Surgeon General, Wyoming youth involved 
     in prevention activities, and community members.
       In Montana, the First Lady Nancy Schweitzer hosted the 
     Surgeon General's three-day visit to Montana that included 
     several speaking engagements with community groups, teens, 
     and university staff/students; production of a PSA of the 
     Surgeon General and First Lady; and meeting with the Lt 
     Governor and the State Interagency Coordinating Council. 
     Following the Surgeon General's visit, there were twenty-six 
     town hall meetings in Montana on underage drinking.
       In Maryland, the First Lady Katie O'Malley and the Surgeon 
     General met with the Lt Governor, Attorney General and 
     several state leaders; gave a press conference; provided 
     remarks to the House and Senate legislators; gave a keynote 
     address and roundtable discussion at the Baltimore Health 
     Department; and attended a meeting with students in a middle 
       In Rhode Island, the First Lady Suzanne Carcieri hosted the 
     Surgeon General's visit that included a meeting with Family 
     Court and Traffic Tribunal Judges with RI Family Court Chief 
     Judge Jeremiah S. Jeremiah who presented information about 
     the Family Court's Alcohol Calendar; a press conference on 
     underage drinking, a meeting with Substance Abuse Task Force 
     Coordinators, State Room, State House; a Lunch with Governor 
     and Mrs. Carcieri in the Governor's Personal Office; a 
     speaking engagement with university presidents, vice 
     presidents, and researchers, hosted by University of Rhode 
     Island President Dr. Robert Carothers; a meeting with 
     Policymakers in Providence, State Room, State House; an 
     address in both the House of Representatives and Senate; and 
     a Town Hall Meeting in Woonsocket, RI, City Hall.
       Additionally, in 2008 2009, through the generosity of 
     Motorola, P, and Pride Surveys, the Foundation was able to 
     give stipends to support 25 Town Hall Meetings in member 
     states across the country to focus community attention on 
     underage drinking. These Town Hall Meetings were in addition 
     to the ones funded by SAMHSA/CSAP.
       The Leadership also worked with Utah 2009 on a meeting of 
     medical examiners with NIAAA and CDC to see how the routine 
     screening for alcohol use in all deaths of persons under the 
     age of 21 could be actualized.
       To accomplish its purpose of supporting First Spouse 
     underage drinking prevention initiatives, the Leadership 
     Foundation has produced weekly email updates, an information-
     packed website, distribution of opinion editorials, and 
     presentations at national conferences.
       The Weekly Update was supported with funding from NIAAA, a 
     Scaife Foundation grant in 2009, and their own resources. The 
     Weekly Update was distributed weekly from 2000 2011 to more 
     than 1,900 individuals. The Update contained timely 
     information on latest research, news from states, new 
     partners, grant and conference information. When a Facebook 
     page was developed, the Leadership decided to use the social 
     media network to distribute timely alerts about underage 
     drinking prevention. The website is also used extensively to 
     distribute information with an average of 400 new visitors 
     each week.
       As issues pertaining to underage drinking have arisen, The 
     Leadership Foundation provided Draft Opinion Editorials to 
     First Spouses. First Spouses were encouraged to shape a final 
     draft based on their state data and/or opinions for 
     distribution to their media outlets. The Op Eds were intended 
     to raise awareness in the early 2000's on childhood/underage 
     drinking and more recently on specific issues such as the 
     costs of underage drinking to states, the minimum drinking 
     age laws, and alcohol energy drinks.
       The Leadership Foundation has also been recognized as a 
     leader in the area of underage drinking prevention. As such, 
     representatives of the Leadership Foundation have been 
     invited to present at a variety of national and state 
     conferences. These included numerous presentations at the 
     Enforcing Underage Drinking Laws (EUDL) Conference, the Mid-
     Year CADCA Institute, NPN/NASADAD conference, and state 
     conferences such as the Ohio Prevention and Education 
       Since 2000, the Leadership Foundation membership, in 
     particular Advisory Board members, have provided significant 
     support at the national level by prompting the development of 
     important documents such as the Surgeon General's Call to 
     Action [SAMHSA, NIAAA, SG], and a state-level analysis of 
     alcohol costs to the state [NM, CDC].
       In addition several products were developed and distributed 
     on-line, at conferences, and in print. All materials are 
     free, and downloadable from the Foundation's website at These have included a 
     statistical brochure for lay audiences which distills the 
     most current research findings about early alcohol use and 
     its effects; a brochure describing three basic strategies for 
     preventing alcohol use by children, and bookmarks on ``Stay 
     Smart; Don't Start,'' a video entitled ``Drinking It In,'' a 
     program for Drug Free Workplace, a discussion guide for 
     communities on childhood drinking and a parent ``book club'' 
     discussion guide on the book ``Messengers in Denim.''
       Several members of the Leadership Foundation have been 
     recognized for their outstanding efforts through The Racicot 
     Leadership Award, and The Hope Award.
       In 2009, the Leadership Foundation Board of Directors 
     created the Racicot Award to be named for Theresa Racicot, 
     first lady emeritus of Montana for her efforts to turn the 
     Leadership Initiative into the Leadership Foundation in 2006 
     7. The Award would be given annually to a sitting First 
     Spouse who had made significant accomplishments in his/her 
     state on underage drinking prevention and contributed time 
     and energy into the Leadership Foundation's work. Recipients 
     of the Racicot Award have been First Lady Mikey Hoeven who 
     served as co-chair of the Leadership Foundation Board, 
     started the successful ``Let's Keep Our Kids Alcohol Free'' 
     campaign, raised money for her efforts through Applebee's and 
     a MOMS cookbook, created the ``I Choose'' CD and served on 
     the Governor's Prevention Advisory Council on Drugs and 
     Alcohol during her tenure as First Spouse; Wyoming First Lady 
     Nancy Freudenthal who worked collaboratively with the Wyoming 
     Liquor Division, the Mental Health & Substance Abuse Division 
     of the Wyoming Department of Health, the Wyoming Association 
     of Sheriffs and Chiefs of Police and parents to develop new 
     partnerships and programs on underage drinking prevention; 
     and First Lady Sally Ganem of Nebraska who worked to create 
     several videos that are still widely used in Nebraska and 
     available to other states that serve as discussion openers.
       In 2011, the Leadership Board of Directors voted at their 
     10th Anniversary Annual Meeting to create a recognition 
     program for Emeritus spouses to be named for Hope Taft, first 
     lady emeritus of Ohio and current president of the 
     Foundation. Patterned after the annual Racicot Leadership 
     Award, the Hope Award recipient is selected from nominations 
     of Leadership members and given to a former governor's spouse 
     who has stayed involved and committed to the vision of the 
     Leadership Foundation after leaving the Governor's Residence. 
     Recipients of the Hope Award have been Hope Taft, First Lady 
     Emeritus of Ohio who was a leader in underage drinking 
     prevention in Ohio during her tenure as First Spouse, and who 
     has represented the Leadership Foundation at the national 
     level; and Karen Baldacci, First Lady Emeritus of Maine who 
     has led the recruiting effort, and stayed on as chair of the 
     Leadership Foundation beyond the normal term.
       In 2010, the Leadership Foundation developed a Promise 
     Partnership Program where agencies with a like-minded mission 
     were invited to submit an application for becoming a 
     Leadership partner Promise Partners include the Hepatitis 
     Foundation; Marin Institute (; Drug Free 
     Action Alliance; Lee County Coalition For a Drug Free 
     Southwest Florida; NABCA; Dr. Parnell Donahue, author of 
     Messengers in Denim; FACE; Prevention Council of Roanoke 
     County; Kansas Family Partnership; Outside the Classroom; The 
     NV Children's Cabinet; 7 Valleys Council on Alcoholism and 
     Substance Abuse, Inc.; Center for Prevention and Counseling; 
     Partnership for a Drug Free Community of S. Florida; 
     Coalition for a Healthy Middletown; Operation Snowball, Inc.; 
     Hope Council on Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse; Hope Whispers 
     Community Organization; Southwest Counseling Services; Parent 
     Resource Center at Families in Action/
       In closing, the Leadership Foundation, through its strong 
     advocacy by First Spouses, have prompted significant state-
     level advancements in underage drinking prevention. Many 
     states have passed laws focused on environmental issues such 
     as keg registration, server training, social hosting and 
     graduated licensing. Many members

[[Page S3625]]

     have worked in their states to bring awareness to the issue, 
     changes in policy and coordination in efforts to prevent 
     childhood drinking. As an example of extensive grassroots 
     activity in underage drinking, more than 2,000 grassroots 
     events were held in 2010 to focus on underage drinking.
       The combined national initiatives, state focus, and 
     grassroots activities have contributed to a significant 
     decline in underage drinking in the United States as 
     discussed on page 1 2 of this document. In 1991 when the 
     first Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System, Centers for 
     Disease Control and Prevention (YRBS) survey was 
     administered, 50.8% of youth in grades 9 12 reported current 
     alcohol use, or use with 30 days prior to the survey. The 
     latest survey results in 2009 showed that number had dropped 
     to 41.8%, a statistically significant drop with a p-value of 
     0.00. That statistical difference means that youth in 1991 
     were more likely than youth in 2009 to be current drinkers. 
     The number of states and territories participating in YRBS 
     survey data collection was fifty-three (53) in 2009; thirty-
     six (36) were states in which there was a First Spouse member 
     of the Leadership Foundation. When looking at the data from 
     those specific states, all states showed a marked decline in 
     current alcohol with an average decline of 9.4%. Ten out of 
     the 36 showed a statistically significant decline in current 
     youth alcohol users. The front-runners in decline were New 
     Mexico, Rhode Island and North Dakota, and Utah showed the 
     lowest rate of current alcohol use among all states in 1991 
     and 2009 (26.6 to 18.2).
       Despite significant headway in the prevention of underage 
     drinking, current levels are still too high. Researchers 
     continue to document the importance of protecting the 
     development of the adolescent brain from the toxic effect of 
     alcohol. Adolescent alcohol use contributes to a host of 
     social, emotional, legal, academic, and physical 
     consequences. Children who begin using alcohol before age 15 
     are more likely to develop a full-blown addiction and a 
     lifetime of lost productivity from it. The country's 
     attention to it must be continued and expanded.
       Therefore, the Leadership Foundation has launched a 2012 
     initiative to create ``virtual statewide coalitions'' with 
     support from NABCA (National Alcohol Beverage Control Board 
     Association). The website, with the First Spouse as the 
     convener, provides a place for all the coalitions in a state 
     to register along with vital, relevant state departments, and 
     agencies as well as relevant alcohol reduction and youth 
     serving agencies. The purpose of this initiative is to 
     facilitate more effective conversations between state and 
     local efforts to prevent underage drinking, and to distribute 
     timely alerts from national agencies to state and local 
       Mr. President, I hereby offer these aforementioned 
     accomplishments of The Leadership To Keep Children Alcohol 
     Free Foundation, and in so doing, seek to commemorate for 
     posterity their important work and highlight the value of 
     protecting our nation's children from the dangers of underage