Mary Rappaport, NAMI (703) 312-7886
Lisa Breeden, Sen. Domenici's Office (505) 766-3481
|For Immediate Release
14 May 97
Arlington, VA - Jack Valenti, president of the Motion Picture Association, will lead a tribute to U.S. Senator Pete Domenici (R-NM) and Mrs. Nancy Domenici hosted by the New Mexico state affiliate of the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI).
Valenti will be the emcee and keynote speaker at the tribute dinner, which is slated for Saturday, May 17, 7:00 p.m. at the Albuquerque Hyatt Hotel, 330 Tijeras, NW.
Media availability with Mr. Valenti, Senator and Mrs. Domenici, and NAMI representatives is scheduled for 6:45 p.m. at the hotel.
The event will honor the Domenicis for their tireless efforts to improve the quality of life for persons with severe mental illness and their families. "The Senator and Mrs. Domenici are modern-day heroes to people who, for far too long, have been neglected and forced to live as second-class citizens," said Laurie M. Flynn, NAMI executive director. "Their ceaseless dedication has been an inspiration to virtually millions of Americans affected by severe mental illness."
Senator Domenici, together with Senator Paul Wellstone (D-MN), led an unprecedented bipartisan push last year to pass federal legislation that moves the country closer to health insurance coverage for severe mental illnesses equal to that provided for physical illnesses. A former member of its national board of directors, Mrs. Domenici is an active NAMI volunteer involved in helping the public understand that severe mental illnesses are physical brain disorders that are diagnosable and treatable.
"No other husband-wife team has done so much to bring respect and dignity to our loved ones who suffer from mental illness," said Pat Riley, executive director of the New Mexico Alliance for the Mentally Ill. "We applaud the Domenicis for their leadership and compassion, and we are very proud to claim them as a native son and daughter." Valenti, a former special assistant to President Lyndon B. Johnson, has been president of the Motion Picture Association since 1966. NAMI is the nation's largest grassroots organization dedicated solely to improving the lives of persons with severe mental illnesses, including schizophrenia, bipolar disorder (manic-depressive illness), major depression, and anxiety disorders. NAMI has more than 140,000 individual members and 1,140 state and local affiliates in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and Canada. NAMI's efforts focus on support to persons with serious brain disorders and to their families; advocacy for nondiscriminatory and equitable federal and state policies; research into the causes, symptoms, and treatments for brain disorders; and education to eliminate the pervasive stigma toward severe mental illnesses.
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