Allyson Schwartz Honored by JSPAN

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Rabbi George Stern, JSPAN executive director; Rabbi Seymour Rosenbloom, JSPAN president; JoAnne Fischer, executive director of Maternity Care Coalition; Allyson Schwartz; and event co-chairs and JSPAN vice presidents, Ruth Damsker and Jill Zipin.

Former Congresswoman and State Senator Allyson Schwartz was awarded the Jewish Social Policy Action Network’s (JSPAN) Social Justice Award at an event held at the Independence Visitor Center on May 12.

Schwartz had a leadership role in the passage of the Affordable Care Act in Congress, and her role as architect and steward of the Children’s Health Insurance Program in Pennsylvania. Prior to holding elected office, she was commissioner of the Philadelphia Department of Human Services, founder and director of the Elizabeth Blackwell Health Center for Women, and a founder of Women’s Way.

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State Rep. Madeliene Dean, State Senator Daylin Leach, Allyson Schwartz.

Today, Schwartz continues her work on national health policy as the President and CEO of the Better Medicare Alliance, a national advocacy coalition. She also serves as Co-Chair of the Bipartisan Policy Center’s Task Force on Health and Housing for Seniors, as a Distinguished Fellow at the University of Pennsylvania’s Leonard Davis Institute for Health Economics and a visiting fellow at Wharton’s Public Policy Initiative.

The event featured a talk by JoAnne Fischer, Executive Director of Maternity Care Coalition and a long-time friend and associate of Schwartz:

Some of you may remember that Allyson did not shy away from the sticky issues in Harrisburg. She is pro–choice, she uses the word ‘abortion,’ and always advocates for women and children. She helped educate her colleagues and constituents by hosting Major Women’s Health Conferences in Harrisburg and in Philadelphia…

She is always strategic and too frequently has had to work around male political bosses who’ve seen her as too independent or worse irrelevant – at their own peril. She was never one of the guys. Twice they redistricted her, assuming that she couldn’t possibly appeal to both an urban and suburban, working class and affluent constituencies. She could, and she did…

Throughout her career in politics, Allyson has sought to help ensure that more women and people from diverse backgrounds not just seek office, but have the resources and support to win. In fact, she helped elect the most diverse class of Democratic members of Congress in the 2012 election, and there are so many elected officials in Pennsylvania that can point to her support — financial support, advice, guidance and other support — as a game changer.

Several other speakers, including Rep. Madeleine Dean and event co-chairs Ruth Damsker and Jill Zipin, also cited Schwartz’s support for women interested in political careers.

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