2015 Annual Bipartisan Congressional Awards Dinner

Featured image

On September 29 the Alliance for Aging Research honored those who help to advance the science of human aging at our 22nd Annual Bipartisan Congressional Awards Dinner:

The Honorable Diana DeGette (2015 Claude Pepper Award for Advancing Healthy Aging Winner)

U.S. Rep. Diana DeGette is serving her tenth term in Congress as Representative for Colorado’s the First District and is Chief Deputy Whip of the Democratic Caucus. Since her first day in Congress, Diana has served on the powerful Committee on Energy and Commerce, serving as the Vice Chair from 2007 to 2010 and as the Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations since 2011. Now a member of Democratic leadership and a senior member of the Energy and Commerce Committee, Politico recently described Diana as “possessing the policy wherewithal, communication skills and deal-cutting desire the Democrats will need to sustain a string of victories over the long term.”

Rep. DeGette played a pivotal role in the development of comprehensive health reform, and she led the overhaul of our nation’s food safety system. She is one of Congress’s leading experts on cutting-edge scientific research and is a recognized leader on the subject of human embryonic stem cell research. As the Democratic leader of the bipartisan 21st Century Cures initiative, Rep. DeGette is working to make medical research discoveries in the lab into treatments and cures for patients. This ambitious effort seeks to remake our medical research system to reflect the current environment for researchers, patients, doctors, drug and medical device developers, and everyone involved in treating diseases.

Congresswoman DeGette authored Sex, Science, and Stem Cells: Inside the Right Wing Assault on Reason, and is one of Congress’s leading advocates for a woman’s right to choose. Throughout her career in public service, Rep. DeGette has been a vocal supporter of environmental protections and conservation.

Diana also served two terms in the Colorado House of Representatives, serving as Assistant Minority Leader from 1993-1995. A fourth-generation Coloradoan, she is married to attorney Lino Lipinsky and lives in Denver with their two daughters.

Learn more about the legacy of Claude Pepper, for whom this award has been named.

Senator Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) (2015 Distinguished Public Service Award Winner)

Kelly Ayotte is a New Hampshire native who has devoted her life to public service.

A prosecutor at heart, Kelly was the first woman to serve as the state’s Attorney General. Appointed to that position in 2004 by a Republican governor, she was twice reappointed by a Democrat governor. In her first bid for public office, she was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2010 with 60 percent of the vote.

In the Senate, Kelly serves on the Armed Services, Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs, Commerce, Budget, and Aging Committees. She is the Ranking Member – top Republican – on the Armed Services Subcommittee on Readiness and Management Support.

As Attorney General, Kelly worked with law enforcement officials statewide to protect New Hampshire citizens – helping to distinguish the state as the safest state in the nation. She fought to pass tough new laws cracking down on sexual and Internet predators, particularly those who target children. And strongly committed to honesty in government, she held public officials accountable – regardless of their position or political affiliation.

For successfully leading efforts to secure the first capital murder convictions in the state in over 60 years, the Union Leader newspaper named Ayotte “Citizen of the Year” in 2008. She also has been recognized by Business NH Magazine as one of the ten most powerful leaders in New Hampshire, and New Hampshire Magazine listed her as one of the state’s remarkable women.

Before Kelly’s five years as Attorney General, she held positions as the Deputy Attorney General and the Chief of the Homicide Unit. Among her achievements as the state’s top murder prosecutor, she secured convictions for two defendants who had been charged with brutally killing two Dartmouth College professors.

Born in Nashua, Kelly attended public schools there. She graduated with honors in 1990 from Pennsylvania State University and earned a Juris Doctor degree in 1993 from the Villanova University School of Law. After completing her legal education, Kelly returned to New Hampshire and served for one year as a law clerk to state Supreme Court Associate Justice Sherman Horton (now retired).

She is married to Joe Daley, a Nashua native who flew combat missions during the Iraq war and retired as a Lieutenant Colonel in the Air National Guard. She helped him launch a landscaping and snow removal company, which provides her with a firsthand understanding of how decisions made in Washington impact small businesses.

Kelly and Joe live in Nashua with their two children.

Rudolph E. Tanzi, PhD (2015 Silver Innovator Award Winner)

Dr. Rudolph Tanzi serves as Chair of the Cure Alzheimer’s Fund Research Consortium. He is also the Joseph P. and Rose F. Kennedy Professor of Neurology at Harvard University and Director of the Genetics and Aging Research Unit at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH).

Dr. Tanzi has been a pioneer in genetic studies of neurological disease since the 1980’s when he participated in the first study to use genetic markers to find a disease gene (Huntington’s disease). Dr. Tanzi co-discovered the three familial early-onset Alzheimer’s disease (AD) genes and several other neurological disease genes including that responsible for Wilson’s disease. As leader of the Cure Alzheimer’s Fund Alzheimer’s Genome Project, Dr. Tanzi has carried out multiple genome wide association studies of thousands of Alzheimer’s families leading to the identification of over 100 novel AD candidate genes, including CD33. His research on the role of zinc and copper in AD has led to clinical trials of the drug PBT2. Dr. Tanzi serves on dozens of editorial and scientific advisory boards, and has received the two highest awards for Alzheimer’s disease research: The Metropolitan Life Award and The Potamkin Prize. He has published over 425 research articles and co-authored the popular trade books “Decoding Darkness” and the recent New York Times Bestseller, “Super Brain”.

Scott Simon (2015 Indispensable Person of the Year Award Winner)

Scott Simon hosts his Saturday morning show on NPR, and is also a Special Contributor to CBS Sunday Morning. He has written six books, the latest being the New York Times bestseller, Unforgettable: A Mother, A Son, and the Lessons that Last a Lifetime. In 2016 he will receive the Order of Lincoln from the state of Illinois, the state’s highest recognition, and an honor he shares with President Obama, Walter Payton, Saul Bellow, Gwendolyn Brooks, The Joffrey Ballet, and Bozo. He has thrown out the first pitch at Wrigley Field, and appeared in The Nutcracker with various ballet companies, though never twice with the same company. Scott is married to Caroline Richard Simon, and they have two daughters, Elise and Paulina, whom he often embarrasses.