ATLANTA, GA – September 23, 2020 – Council Member Matt Westmoreland received the National Distinguished Advocacy Award last week, the most prestigious award presented by the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN), in recognition of his significant contributions to the fight against cancer, including his successful efforts to pass legislation making the City of Atlanta and Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport smoke-free.
ACS CAN, the advocacy affiliate of the American Cancer Society, presents the annual award to select lawmakers who demonstrate outstanding leadership in the area of cancer-related public policy advocacy.
“Council Member Westmoreland has established himself as a true advocate for public health by introducing and championing the ordinance to make his great city of Atlanta, including the world’s busiest airport and the global headquarters for the American Cancer Society, smoke-free,” said Lisa Lacasse, President of ACS CAN. “ACS CAN is grateful for his steadfast leadership that resulted in a lifesaving measure that will reduce the risk of cancer for all those that live in, work in and visit Atlanta.”
Westmoreland has been a long-time advocate for the wellbeing of Atlanta, previously working in the D.C. office of Congressman John Lewis and as programs director for Horizons Atlanta, an educational non-profit serving low-income students across Metro Atlanta. Prior to his election to the City Council, Westmoreland worked directly with the children of Atlanta as a high school history teacher in southeast Atlanta and later as the Atlanta Public Schools Board of Education’s District 3 representative where he helped rewrite the school system’s mission including defining equity and expanding wrap around services like school-based health clinics.
“We wouldn’t be here without Council Member Westmoreland’s vision and dedication to the cause,” shared Cathy Callaway, Director of State and Local Campaigns for ACS CAN. “He not only worked continuously to build support among his fellow council members, but he advocated for the strongest possible smoke-free policy by including e-cigarettes after listening to the concerns of the community. He exhibited courage and spent political capital, to protect bar/restaurant workers and musicians, that together with ACS CAN’s work resulted in historic protections for Atlanta residents and all who visit.”
The ordinance passed on July 1, 2019, with a 13-2 vote and became effective on January 2, 2020.
The award was presented on Sept. 15 as part of the annual ACS CAN Leadership Summit and Lobby Day. Nearly 700 cancer patients, survivors and their loved ones met virtually with their elected officials to urge them to support policies that increase funding for cancer research and prevention programs and address barriers that prevent diverse populations from enrolling in clinical trials.
About ACS CAN
The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) is making cancer a top priority for public officials and candidates at the federal, state and local levels. ACS CAN empowers advocates across the country to make their voices heard and influence evidence-based public policy change as well as legislative and regulatory solutions that will reduce the cancer burden. As the American Cancer Society’s nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy affiliate, ACS CAN is critical to the fight for a world without cancer. For more information, visit www.fightcancer.org.