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Cancer funding boost pleases local lawmaker

June 03, 1999|By LAURA ERNDE

A local lawmaker who has been an advocate for cancer research was pleased by Maryland Gov. Parris Glendening's announcement Thursday that he would boost funding by $500 million over the next decade.

"I hope this helps people diagnosed with cancer and prevents people from getting cancer," said Del. Louise V. Snodgrass, R-Frederick/Washington.

Snodgrass, 56, was diagnosed with breast cancer 2 1/2 years ago.

Since then, she has become an advocate for prevention of the disease.

During this year's legislative session, Snodgrass testified on behalf of the University of Maryland Greenbaum Cancer Center in Baltimore, seeking more money to treat cancer patients and conduct research.

On Thursday, she was invited to the University of Maryland Medical Center, where Glendening announced that the state's $1.7 billion tobacco settlement will be used to fight smoking and treat tobacco-related illnesses.

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The Greenbaum Center, along with Johns Hopkins University, stand to get $500 million for cancer research over the next 10 years, she said.

Glendening also proposed spending $300 million on anti-smoking efforts, $100 million on anti-addiction programs and $83.5 million to help tobacco farmers switch to other crops.

"I think this is wonderful," she said.

Like many skeptics, Snodgrass wondered if Glendening will follow through on the commitment once the cash starts flowing into the state's general fund.

Lawmakers in other states have proposed using settlement money for tax cuts, sidewalk repairs and other items.

"I see the tobacco settlement not as an infusion of money, but rather as a unique opportunity, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, to positively and permanently reshape public policy," Glendening said in a prepared statement.

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