We are especially lucky to have the next two people join us today at the National Cancer Prevention Workshop. That being Less Cancer former Chairwoman, Donna Eacho, and our board member, and also representative Don Beyer. Congressman Don Beyer is serving in his third term. He was Lieutenant Governor of Virginia from 1990-1998. He was the ambassador to Switzerland under President Obama. Welcome Donna and Congressman Beyer. Hello, I'm Donna Eacho. I am the former board chair and current treasurer and board member of Less Cancer. I'm here to welcome Congressman Don Beyer to Cancer Prevention Workshop. Don serves as the Congressman for Virginia's 8th district, which is part of Northern Virginia. He serves on the Science and Technology Committee as well as the Ways and Means Committee. He has had a distinguished career, first as a businessman, later as Lieutenant Governor of the State of Virginia, and then our ambassador to Switzerland and Lichtenstein under President Obama. He's now serving in Congress. He is representing Virginia's 8th district. Welcome Don. Thank you Donna very much. I want to start by saying how much we have appreciated your support of Less Cancer throughout the years. You've been a [inaudible] supporter and that's something we very much appreciate. You've also been an incredible advocate for health care for the most needy and vulnerable, not only in Virginia, but really across the United States, and for that, we're all very grateful. I wanted today to talk a little bit about what we might expect from Congress and the new administration next year. Obviously, there were many changes in the administration and also some in Congress. Particularly, as it comes to issues of public health, aside from COVID, obviously that is everyone's top priority, but there are other public health issues that will continue to need to be addressed. I wanted if you could talk a little bit about what we might be seeing rising to the top of the agendas for Congress next year. Thank you Donna. I think that we should see a real new era in public health in the next couple of years. Dr. Vivek Murthy has been reappointed as surgeon general of the United States. Dr. Murphy, who's much more famous now than he was when he was surgeon general before, because of the COVID crisis. He's a very thoughtful, good doctor, really committed to public health. I also think the American people are in a very different place after every one of us has become an expert on CDC, NIH, and the FDA, and all the different things that the COVID crisis has forced us really to focus on. Obviously, the first priority is to get through it. To get the vaccines. I got my first shot recently on December 18th. Not because I was trying to jump in line in front of 800,000 constituents, but rather to try to model the behavior that everyone of us should be doing because there's apparently as many as 30 percent [inaudible] planning not to get the vaccine, which is a great danger for everyone, and certainly for all the rest of us. There's so many different specific places where we need to focus public health attention. We should start by celebrating the remarkable public health success that we have achieved since the late 1960s in smoking in America. We're now second lowest percentage of our population in the world that smokes. Only Australia beats us. We've gone from the mid 40s, when I was a smoking teenager down to under 15 percent right now. That's wonderful. That's shows what we can do when we begin to address other needs. One of the ones that jumps out most clearly is water and the aging water systems we have throughout the country and its implications for cancer. A major constructive bill in 2021, much will vote to water systems in the old pipes, and [inaudible] Flint, Michigan. Twenty-five percent of our medicare budget is just dialysis, end-stage renal disease. We have 68 million Americans that are pre-diabetic right now. It is again one of the, we don't talk about it very much, one of the great dilemmas, health dilemmas in our country. A national public effort to deal with the obesity and the lack of exercise that creates this crisis will save an enormous amount. Don, do you think there's much of an appetite in Congress for beginning to take a look at the issues caused by PFAS with the Forever Chemicals that are causing a number of cancer [inaudible] throughout the country? Yes. In fact, our Energy and Commerce Committee has addressed PFAS again and again. It's frustrating that we pass so many constructive bills in the House that die in the senate. I'm very much hoping that with a different president and maybe even 50-50 senate, we can get PFAS through the senate. We will keep pressing it because there's enormous issue for many of the people in the House to understand how deadly it can be. Yeah. Absolutely. One of the other issues we've looked at a little bit is childhood nutrition, and how that really sets people up very much what you were saying in terms of obesity, but other long-term health issues. Do you think there's much of an interest and efforts around childhood nutrition, school lunches, and those sorts of issues? I think so very much. Tom Vilsack is likely to be the next Secretary of Agriculture, appointed by the president-elect. He didn't know they wanted to do it, but Joe Biden talked him into it, because he realized that 80 percent of the Department of Agriculture is just [inaudible] less for kids snack programs, and if we need the 20 percent we've got to grow the food, but getting that right is really, really important. I think there's an ever greater awareness of the link between nutrition and health in our long terms. By the way, we have a new agriculture chairman in the house also. We've had lots of discussions already at focusing on sustainable agricultural practices, getting away from monocrops, getting away from all the chemicals that are put in, including the pharmaceuticals that are put into crops and thinking we know so much more about how food affects our health. Absolutely. The last thing I wanted to touch on, I've been thinking about all the conversations about vaccines, and I think people are all collectively and individually really thinking about vaccines and their importance. One of the places we've seen the most success in cancer prevention has been with the HPV vaccines. Cervical cancer is actually a cancer that can be eradicated, or virtually eradicated and that's so exciting, but obviously it takes a lot of education for people to understand the importance of vaccines and the safety. I'm wondering if there is going to be any kind of a roll out of public education around vaccines that might spill over so it's not only COVID, but also HPV and other vaccines or do you think we're really setting up for just a big group of anti-vaxxers versus science? Where do you see that playing out? Yes and yes. I'm fascinated by the incredible success of the HPV vaccine. I remember it was a little controversial [inaudible]. People would say, "Well, you're just preparing them to have premature sex". It was like no. We're protecting them. Now we discover that every teenage boy needs to get it also, and how important it is not just for young women, but for young men, and not just for the sexually active. That's a wonderful success. On the vaccine overall, I think we're really looking forward to the cancer vaccine success with other cancers. As we realized that cancer has many different causes and some of them are going to be amenable to a vaccine approach. The COVID crisis has in a good way and a bad way, really elevated the understanding of many Americans about how important vaccines are. Now many Americans understand herd immunity, they understand how vaccines are put together. But the really small nascent anti-vax community, was all led from a [inaudible] theory that vaccine cause autism, which has been disproven hundreds of times and has now grown with the COVID vaccine in something that's fairly significant. Even today we're dealing with all these members of Congress who say they're never going to get the vaccine. Unfortunately that puts everyone else at risk. The good news is there's money in the budget that we're about to pass. Hopefully we pass when people are watching this. A significant amount of money for vaccine education, for public education, working with the National Advertising Council and others. We're just going to just have to push back as hard as we can. Sadly in American history, there's always been a stray of anti-science. If the Know Nothings, the Luddites, I'm not sure quite where it comes from, maybe it's because rebels came to this country in the first place from wherever they were from, but we have to work really hard to make sure that the science is ascending. Well, I just want to conclude by thanking you again for your time today, for all you do, not only for Less Cancer, but for the United States. For all the good work that's being done in Congress, it's often easy for us to look at the things that aren't going well with the makings of government, but I so appreciate you highlighting for us all the things that often are going well, and all the progress that you are making, and particularly in things that can help us with cancer prevention, which is obviously our focus today. Donna, I want to thank you too, and all the work you're doing. I lost a younger sister to breast cancer a few years ago, which was on the sad side, but on the very positive side, I have one cousin and one extra other law, both of whom were diagnosed with very serious, what would have always been fatal cancers in years past. Both of them are doing great, because of all the research and the applied stuff that you guys do. Great. Well, thank you so much, and we appreciate you being with us today.