Monday, January 26, 2009

Tobacco Tax Increase; Savvy Magazine article

I wanted to share with you a snap shot from my most recent appearance on the news.  Friday morning I had the opportunity to speak on the channel 11 news about the proposed increase in the excise tax on tobacco in my home state of Arkansas.  I cannot tell you how important this increase is for my state, and the good those funds will do.  We hope to raise the tax by 56 cents a pack, which will increase state revenues by 87.8 MILLION dollars annually.  Yes, you read that correctly.  Those funds will go toward CPR training for all public school personnel, the placement of life saving AED's in every public school in Arkansas, and the creation of a statewide trauma system.  Each and every person in the state of Arkansas will be touched by the programs that will be put into effect with these funds. We are thrilled to have the support of Governor Mike Beebe.  Governor Beebe normally is not a fan of "designated funds", but understands the importance of these life saving programs and is willing to set aside his personal preferences for the greater good.    I have a great deal of respect and admiration for him, and am honored to be working with him on this issue.  If you are a Republican in the state PLEASE contact your Senator and urge them to support this tax.  The Republican members of the Senate signed an oath not to raiser taxes this session. However, please stress to them that this is a luxury tax, not an across the board tax, and that the good it will do far outweighs the negative connotations that most "taxes" have attached to them.  

This month also saw the publication of Savvy magazines 5th edition.  I am honored to be featured in their "Beyond Beauty" section.  I was asked by editor Stacey Kole to share the story of my journey as an advocate for women's heart health.  Since my crowning my story has  been featured in such state publications as 501 life, AY, Inviting Arkansas, Women's Inc, and Arkansas Life, but this is the first publication to take that story to the national level.  I cannot thank Stacey and Jessica enough for their willingness to let me be part of their incredible publication.
If you are interested in taking part in my campaign to increase the tobacco tax in Arkansas please visit  I'm off to New York City next week to promote the Go red for Women casting call.  See you there!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

A visit to the Pacific Northwest

My year as Mrs. International has  been filled with so many blessings, and yet each day seems to bring some new and wonderful addition. Since my crowning in July I've had the opportunity to travel to Illinois, Texas, Alabama, Oklahoma and all across my home state. However, last weekend I was blessed to travel to a part of our amazing nation that I have never before seen; the Pacific Northwest.  The state director of the Oregon International system invited me to be her guest for a special workshop for her contestants.  Leslie was an incredible hostess, and it was an honor to be her guest and help her promote the system in her state.

We started our appearances as soon as I stepped off the plane, with a quick stop by the Paul Mitchell school.  They are so excited to be part of the International pageant system, and are going to be offering a scholarship to Leslie's winners.  The next morning we started off with a visit to the local American Heart Association offices. It was fantastic to get a chance to sit down with the Pacific Northwest team and discuss what legislative agenda issues they are working toward for their 2009 session. As in my home state Oregon is pushing for an increase in their states tobacco excise tax.  They also are working toward legislation for a healthier tomorrow for the children of Oregon, and I was thrilled to discuss with them the impact that the 2003 BMI act has made in my home state.  They were unaware of the legislation, and very interested in seeing if it could be implemented in their home state.  They are also moving toward placing AED's in their public schools, as Arkansas did in 2007.  Overall, it was thrilling to see how the AHA's goal of decreasing death by heart disease and stroke by 25% by 2010 is being realized across the nation.
After leaving the AHA's office we stopped for a quick bite of lunch with Mrs. Oregon International Debra Gilmore, and then off to site-see.  Then, it was on to BiMart to sign autographs.  BiMart of the executive sponsor of the Oregon International pageant, and they were thrilled to have us as their guests for the afternoon. That evening we closed our day with a pajama party with former Mrs. Oregon International Tamara Wissbaum and Kim Wylder.  I was so honored to get to spend some time with these fabulous women, and now count them as dear friends!
Saturday Leslie hosted a fabulous workshop for her contestants, where I presented tips on creating winning paperwork.  It was such a joy to get to meet the wonderful women of Oregon, and I look forward to getting to see the winners this summer in Chicago.  After the workshop  Leslie treated me to the best pedicure I've ever experienced at Pink and White nail salon; then it was off to dinner at The Nines, one of Portlands' most beautiful boutique hotels.
I cannot thank Leslie enough for the incredible experience she provided for me in her beautiful home city.  The weekend went by far too quickly!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Pass the Heart for Women Act!!

A New Year’s Resolution for Congress – Pass the HEART for Women Act!
January marks the beginning of the 111th Congress and a new opportunity to pass the HEART for Women Act. The bill, which would help to eliminate disparities in the diagnosis and treatment of heart disease and stroke in women, had wide bipartisan support in the 110th Congress (with an amazing 281 cosponsors!), even passing the full House of Representatives before time ran out in the last session. Now, it will be re-introduced in Congress in mid-February, and we need your help to make sure the bill has as many original cosponsors as possible when it is introduced.
With Senators and Representatives, new and returning, busy setting their priorities for the coming year, this is our chance to make sure HEART for Women is at the top of their lists. Ask your legislators to become original cosponsors of the HEART for Women Act today!
Together, we can make 2009 the year that Congress passes the HEART for Women Act!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Lung Alliance Update!

Are you passionate about raising awareness of lung cancer
but aren't entirely sure how to do it?

Do you wish the media paid more attention to this nation's #1 cancer killer
but you don't know how to engage reporters?

Are you already an established lung cancer advocate but want to gain more tools
and network with others who share your vision?

Then apply for National Lung Cancer Partnership's 2nd Lung Cancer Advocacy Summit: Acquiring Tools, Effecting Change in Dallas, TX from April 23-26!

The goal of the Summit is to empower advocates by providing training, resources, knowledge, and courage to take action in their communities.
Health and research professionals, media and advocacy trainers, and advocates like you will share their experiences through workshops, small group discussions, networking, and a trip to research laboratories at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center.
Download an application form and learn more about the Summit at
The application deadline is February 13, 2009.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Arkansas Life Feature

Over my tenure as an American Heart Association advocate I've been featured in a number of periodicals. In 2005 I was featured along-side my mother, for whom I fight this battle. This January mother and I are begin featured again in Arkansas Life, as part of a story on women who have fought cardiovascular disease and won! What an honor it is to be part of this amazing publication, and to take part with my beloved mother, and three other brilliant and beautiful heart disease survivors. You can see the feature article photo below, and read the article here: