JUST ahead of the nation's pivotal Presidential election, representatives of Life Science Tennessee (LSTN), an industry association, say LSTN wants to keep journalists out of its midday panel discussion tomorrow during the General Session of its Annual Conference in Nashville.
Nor are staff from congressional offices controlled by Tennessee Democrats scheduled to join GOP staff for a timely panel discussion on U.S. healthcare and the looming plebiscite, during the General Session.
Instead, panelists drawn solely from GOP staffs within the U.S. House and Senate will discuss "Impact of the 2016 Election on the Life Sciences Industry."
LSTN reps told Venture Nashville today, in part, "The federal health policy advisors [invited by LSTN] are looking to have a relaxed, candid conversation with our members. We are glad to have them as they are some of the top health policy officials in Congress. All of their bosses are on important health and life science related committees. We engage with them regularly and we wanted our membership to know who they are."
Abby Trotter, a partner in Nashville-based Hall Strategies, said Hall client LSTN has also previously met with the two Democrats on the Tennessee congressional delegation -- U.S. Reps. Jim Cooper (Dist 5) and Steve Cohen (Dist 9) -- as well as with some of their staffs, and LSTN leadership thinks "they are fantastic, as well."
Trotter further explained that neither Cooper nor Cohen "serve on any committees that deal regularly with our issues." Both men have recently added new policy advisors on their staffs who cover health issues "and we have not had the opportunity to meet with them yet," she added.
The advisors announced as appearing on the panel tomorrow come from GOP-controlled offices. They include: Grace Stuntz, FDA Policy Advisor, Republican Health Policy Office of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions; Sarah Osborn, Legislative Assistant on Health Policy, Office of U.S. Sen. Bob Corker (R); and, Kristi Thompson, Senior Health Policy Advisor, Office of U.S. Congressman Marsha Blackburn (R). Staff in such roles are not often characterized as 'officials in Congress'.
For the record: Cooper and Cohen's counterpart health policy advisors are Vic Goetz and Lauren Citron, according to staff in the Democrats' respective offices who were queried today by VNC.
Other federal and state policy- and regulation-oriented speakers scheduled to appear during this week's LSTN event include Scott Whittaker, CEO of the AdVaMed, the Advanced Medical Technology Association.
Another panel promises to make the case for "why Tennessee is a premier location for new and growing life science companies," and includes ECD Deputy Commissioner Ted Townsend and Charlie Brock, CEO of Launch Tennessee, which is sponsored mainly by TN ECD and officially known as Tennessee Technology Development Corporation.
LSTN's annual event is being held at the Hutton Hotel Conference Center on West End. VNC