Virginia State Senator Emmett Hanger Receives National Distinguished Advocacy Award for Championing Lifesaving Cancer Public Policy

Award is Highest Honor Presented by the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network

September 26, 2018

Virginia State Sen. Emmett Hanger received the National Distinguished Advocacy Award, the most prestigious award presented by the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN), in recognition of his dedication to expand access to health care this morning at ACS CAN’s annual Leadership Summit and Lobby Day in Washington, D.C.


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.


“Sen. Hanger showed his commitment to making cancer a legislative priority by remaining steadfast in his support of increasing access to health coverage throughout the state of Virginia,” said Chris Hansen, president of ACS CAN. “He took action in the fight against cancer, establishing himself as a public health champion.”


Sen. Hanger split with his political party to craft a budget compromise that brought Medicaid expansion to 400,000 Virginians. After crafting a Medicaid compromise with the House, Sen. Hanger remained standing in the Senate chamber hour after hour to fight off a series of 18 amendments, remaining steadfast in what he believed was best for the residents of Virginia.


“It was an amazing legislative performance by a consummate political leader working on behalf of his constituents,” said Brian Donohue, Virginia government relations director, ACS CAN. “Without Sen. Hanger’s leadership, Virginia would not have passed Medicaid expansion in 2018. His commitment is helping to save lives from cancer in Virginia and across the country.”


Sen. Hanger accepted the award in front of nearly 700 volunteers and staff from across the country who traveled to the nation’s capital to ask Congress to support policies that increase cancer research funding, improve patient quality of life and make colorectal cancer screenings more affordable for seniors.

ACS CAN is the nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy affiliate organization of the American Cancer Society, dedicated to eliminating cancer as a major health problem. ACS CAN works to encourage lawmakers, candidates and government officials to support laws and policies that will make cancer a top national priority. ACS CAN gives ordinary people extraordinary power to fight cancer. For more information, visit

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