The American Herbal Products Association (AHPA) announced that Sen. Martin Heinrich, D-N.M., has joined the Congressional Dietary Supplement Caucus for the 113th Congress.
The caucus, which was officially reconstituted in late March, serves as an informal, bipartisan group that facilitates discussions among lawmakers about the benefits of dietary supplements, provides tips and insights for better health and wellness, and promotes research into the health care saving these products provide. The caucus also seeks to enhance Congressional attention to the role of supplements in health promotion and disease prevention and address the regulation of the supplement industry.
Working with its New Mexico members, AHPA introduced the senator to the natural products industry during a reception held In Heinrich's honor at the recent Natural Products Expo West.
In an April 24 interview with NutraIngredients-usa.com, Heinrich said that there is "quite a lot" of regulatory oversight of dietary supplements and voiced his support for the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act, noting that it "has shown itself to be a very good and effective regulatory structure over the years."
Peter Evich of Van Scoyoc Associates, AHPA's federal relations consultant, believes Heinrich is in position to become an industry champion.
"It is significant that Sen. Heinrich is the first senator other than industry champions Sens. Hatch and Harkin to join the Dietary Supplement Caucus," said Evich. "AHPA's New Mexico members and AHPA President Michael McGuffin are to be commended for their work in cultivating this relationship with the senator. AHPA will continue to work closely with its membership to create these important relationships with our legislators."
Other Dietary Supplement Caucus members include Sens. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah; and Tom Harkin, D-Iowa; and Reps. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah; Jared Polis, D-Colo.; and Frank Pallone, D-N.J.; who serve as co-chairs. Additional members include Reps. Rob Bishop, R-Utah; John Campbell, R-Calif.; Peter DeFazio, D-Ore.; Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill.; John Duncan, R-Tenn.; Randy Hultgren, R-Ill.; Darrell Issa, R-Calif.; Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill.; Jim Matheson, D-Utah; Howard "Buck" McKeon, R-Calif.; Peter Roskam, R-Ill.; Dutch Ruppersberger, D-Md.; and Pete Sessions, R-Texas.
Heinrich was elected as the junior senator of New Mexico in November 2012. Previously, he served in the U.S. House of Representatives for New Mexico's First Congressional District from 2009 to 2012 and on the Albuquerque City Council from 2003 to 2007, including one term as city council president in 2006.