McNamara given lifetime achievement award for heart health advocacy


The American Heart Association honored Representative Joseph M. McNamara (Dist. 19 – Cranston, Warwick) in a State House ceremony recently for his commitment to fighting heart disease and stroke in Rhode Island.

McNamara was presented with the Tracey A. Kennedy Leadership in Advocacy Award, a “lifetime achievement” award given annually in recognition of outstanding leadership and tireless efforts to advance the mission of the American Heart Association.

McNamara, who serves as chairman of the House Committee on Health Education and Welfare, was selected for his leadership on bills that will help build a healthier Rhode Island. McNamara has led the charge to provide a healthy school environment for children in the Ocean State. He championed legislation that called for only healthy snacks and beverages in Rhode Island schools. Thanks to his efforts and leadership, Rhode Island’s school nutrition guidelines are among the strongest in the nation. He also championed legislation that mandated curriculum standards for physical education in our schools. This law is being implemented and will ensure that students receive quality physical education that is aligned with state and national standards.

More recently, McNamara has sponsored bills related to menu labeling, limiting exposure to trans fats and ensuring adequate funding for tobacco prevention and cessation programs in the Ocean State.

“Regardless of how busy Joe is, every time we bring him a new idea he is willing to jump in and help start the dialogue. He believes in offering and providing a healthy environment for all Rhode Islanders, young and mature,” said Tracey Kennedy.

The Tracey A. Kennedy Leadership in Advocacy Award was established in 2010 and is named for one of the American Heart Association’s most passionate advocates. Kennedy is a stroke survivor and her commitment to advancing the American Heart Association’s mission through meaningful policy change at the state and federal levels is unparalleled. Kennedy currently serves as chairwoman of the Rhode Island Advocacy Committee.


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