Press Releases

The Death Of Senator John Chafee

Statement by Laurie Flynn, Executive Director,  the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill

Oct 08 1999

Arlington, VA - We were saddened to learn today about the death of U.S. Senator John Chafee of Rhode Island. Throughout his career in public service, he was more than a strong advocate on issues important to people with severe mental illnesses: he was also our friend. Both the Senate and the nation as a whole will seem a little less noble and a little less compassionate because of his passing.

NAMI members in Rhode Island and across the nation will remember Senator Chafee especially for his role on the Senate Finance Committee, where he focused on health care reforms, including Medicaid and the expansion of health care coverage for women and children.

His goals included work incentives for people with disabilities and parity for mental health benefits in health insurance plans. On April 13, 1999, he joined Senators Pete Domenci (R-NM) and Paul Wellstone (D-MN) in introducing S. 796, the Mental Health Equitable Treatment Act of 1999, currently one of NAMI's top legislative priorities.

He appeared in a photograph of the news conference on the bill published on the front page of a recent issue of The Advocate, NAMI's bimonthly publication for members.

NAMI offers its condolences to Senator Chafee's family and to all whose lives he touched.