Cancer Votes in Wis. U.S. Senate Race

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An advocacy affiliate for the American Cancer Society is getting involved in the U.S. Senate race between Democrat Tammy Baldwin and Republican Tommy Thompson. They hope to make cancer research funding and treatment access into campaign issues.

The Cancer Action Network in Wisconsin has never actively tried to influence an election before. Now, with federal cancer funding stagnant, the group is sending Wisconsin’s two U.S. Senate candidates questionnaires. On it are five questions related to federal research funding and treatment access.

Kathi Hansen is a breast cancer survivor. She is also lead volunteer coordinator for Wisconsin’s American Cancer Society. Hansen says both Thompson and Baldwin were sent questionnaires. “I’ve been in touch with their campaigns encouraging them to fill them out and return them. We will then be putting that information out to volunteers across the state so they know the candidates’ stances on the issues that are important to use before they vote in November.”

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The cancer awareness campaign is called Cancer Votes. It is hoped that those touched by cancer will be a strong enough voting bloc to influence candidates. The current Congress has been locked in spending stalemates over the deficit but Hansen is not deterred. She says, “The budget woes are very real, and we recognize that. But when you’re making a budget, whether it’s a federal budget or your own budget, it’s a matter of priorities, and we think a disease touches that 87 people a day in this state needs to be a priority.”

The federal government is the largest funder of cancer research. A budget deal worked out last summer by Congress cuts money for the National Institutes of Health by 8 percent.

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