Senator Carper, Congressman Valadao Honored by the American Lung Association for Work to Improve Lung Health

Yesterday, the American Lung Association presented its Lung Health Hero Award to Senator Tom Carper (D-DE) and its Better Breathing Champion Award to Congressman David Valadao (R-CA) for their leadership and support in efforts to improve lung health. 

The annual awards are given out during LUNG FORCE Advocacy Day, where more than 120 LUNG FORCE Heroes – people living with lung cancer and their loved ones – as well as advocates and staff from across the country met with members of Congress to advocate for lifesaving research and critical public health funding.

“Senator Carper has shown an unwavering commitment to improve lung health throughout his time in the Senate. He has dedicated much of his career to help individuals who suffer from lung disease and are most affected by the harmful health effects of air pollution and has also been a strong champion for tobacco prevention and quitting policies,” said Harold Wimmer, President and CEO of the American Lung Association. “We have been honored to work with Senator Carper throughout his impactful career and wish him the best in his upcoming retirement.”

Senator Carper was presented the Lung Health Hero Award, the highest honor the Lung Association gives to members of Congress, for being a champion of lung health over his extensive career in the Senate. Senator Carper has worked tirelessly to defend the Clean Air Act and strengthen clean air protections as Chair of the Environment and Public Works Committee. He has also been a strong champion of tobacco control and cessation and championed the Quit because of COVID-19 Act in the 116th and 117th Congress. This bill would expand access to tobacco cessation treatments to all Medicaid enrollees without prior authorization and cost-sharing. 

“I am honored to be recognized as a Lung Health Hero by the American Lung Association,” said Senator Carper. “My own family has been afflicted by lung cancer, and I know first-hand just how vitally important it is that we promote lung health at both the local and national level. From codifying Amtrak’s smoking ban to enacting policies to reduce air pollution, I will always work to build a healthier planet and promote healthy lungs in the process.”

“We are proud to honor Representative Valadao for his strong support of people with asthma and for people who need supplemental oxygen. As a lead sponsor of the Elijah E. Cummings Family Asthma Act, he has worked to expand funding for the Centers for Disease Control (CDC)’s National Asthma Control Program, which aims to increase the federal, state and local public health response to help millions of people with asthma in California and the U.S.,” said Wimmer. “In addition, he is leading legislation in the House of Representatives to ensure the 1.5 million people in the U.S. who need supplemental oxygen can access the type of equipment they need to live active lives. He is a strong supporter of proven public health policies, and we look forward to working with him to further critical health initiatives in the U.S.”

Lung Association staff and volunteers presented Representative Valadao with the Better Breathing Champion Award for his commitment to improve the lives of people living with asthma and lung diseases. Representative Valadao is a member of the House Appropriations Committee and is the co-chair of the House Asthma & Allergy Caucus. As a member of the Appropriations Committee, the Congressman has championed funding for CDC’s National Asthma Control Program (NACP), successfully protecting NACP funding during a very difficult budget environment. In his role as co-chair of the Asthma & Allergy Caucus, the Congressman is a co-sponsor of the Elijah. E Cummings Family Asthma Act which would authorize full expansion of CDC’s NACP to serve all 50 states and territories. The Congressman and his office are also working closely with the Lung Association on our supplemental oxygen priorities, and he will be the lead Republican in the House on the Supplemental Oxygen Access Reform (SOAR) Act.

“I’m honored to receive the Better Breathing Champion Award,” said Congressman Valadao. “The San Joaquin Valley suffers from some of the worst air quality in the nation, and as a result we have one of the highest rates of child asthma. Because of this, I’ve supported several initiatives to improve the quality of life for those living with asthma and other lung health issues. I’ll continue working to improve our air quality and ensure Valley families have access to the quality healthcare they need.” 

During the American Lung Association’s 2024 LUNG FORCE Advocacy Day on March 20, more than 100 LUNG FORCE Heroes, advocates and staff met with Congress to ask them to support $51.3 billion in research funding for the NIH and $11.6 billion in funding for the CDC for Fiscal Year 2025. Learn more at

For more information, contact:

Jill Dale
[email protected]

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