A Tribute to Sen. Pete Domenici
As we say goodbye to 2008, NAMI bids a special farewell to our good friend, Senator Pete Domenici (R-NM). During his historic run of 36 years in the U.S. Senate, he led the fight for every significant piece of legislation affecting people with mental illness. He retired this year following the 2008 elections.
A fitting cap to Domenici’s distinguished career is the recent enactment into law of the Paul Wellstone and Pete Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008, requiring group insurance plans to cover mental illnesses the same way as physical ones (no more higher co-pays, deductibles and limits on hospital stays). Congress named the law partly in his honor and one of his final votes led to its long-awaited passage.
In addition, New Mexico State University has created the Domenici Public Policy Institute to honor the Senator's impact on public policy and his contributions to New Mexico and the country during his historic tenure in the U.S. Senate. Click here for a video of NAMI Executive Director Mike Fitzpatrick speaking at the Domenici Public Policy Conference held in August, 2008.
Domenici often spoke eloquently in Congress about his experience as a father, trying to help his daughter, Clare, who lives with schizophrenia. His wife, Nancy, is a former member of NAMI’s National Board. NAMI thanks them both for their extraordinary service.