Washington, DC –(ENEWSPF)—January 18, 2018
By: James Lewis
Congresswoman Robin Kelly, chair of the Congressional Black Caucus Health Braintrust, released this statement concerning Taylor Weyeneth and his role at the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP):
“As an opioid crisis rages across this country, the Trump Administration is using a spoils system to reward campaign loyalists instead of appointing real leaders with real experience to help rein in this crisis.
While I do not doubt Mr. Weyeneth’s passion for this issue, his only post-college experience is working on the Trump campaign. He has never worked in public health, never served in local government or law enforcement and never managed a team addressing a complex and interconnected problem, like drug and opioid addiction. Despite this, he was elevated to ONDCP’s Deputy Chief of Staff until the Washington Post raised questions about his appointment and inconsistencies in his resume.
Quite simply, working on the Trump campaign does not mean you’re qualified for a job with public health implications of this magnitude. Unfortunately, this President has decided that loyalty matters more than skills and experience. This decision is wrong and it’s costing lives.
Additionally, the ONDCP still lacks a director more than a year after President Trump’s inauguration. This is simply unacceptable. 175 Americans die every day from opioid overdoses and nearly 2,000 Illinoisans lost their lives to this epidemic in 2016. In 2016, the three counties in my Congressional district saw 1,087 people lose their lives to an opioid overdose: Cook County: 970 lives, Will County: 103 lives and Kankakee County 14 lives. Despite all of these Americans losing their lives, the President still hasn’t seen fit to nominate a director who can be confirmed by the U.S. Senate.
These facts lead me to believe that addressing the growing opioid crisis is not a priority for this White House or this President. As a member of Congress’ investigative subcommittee with oversight of health care policy, I believe we need to take Mr. Weyeneth’s appointment seriously and should immediately have a hearing on the dismal state of the ONDCP.”
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