Feature

Voters re-elected the four congressmen with psychological training already serving in the U.S. House of Representatives and voted a fifth to join their ranks in the November elections.

Re-elected to Congress are Rep. Brian Baird (D-Wash.), Rep. Ted Strickland (D-Ohio), Rep. Tom Osborne, (R-Neb.) and Rep. Diane Watson (D-Calif.). And, in a new addition to the 108th Congress, Pennsylvania voters elected former state senator Timothy Murphy (R-Pa.).

As a result, psychology is among the best-represented health-care fields in the Congress: Nine representatives have medical training, four are dentists, three are nurses, in addition to one pharmacist and one optometrist.

"This means a lot for psychology," says Mike Sullivan, PhD, assistant executive director for state advocacy in APA's Practice Directorate. "Now we have more people working on the inside of the political process who have an informed psychological perspective."

The number of representatives with psychology training also increased at the state level where 16 of the 20 psychologists running for state office won their elections. "Each year the number of psychologists in elected office grows," says Sullivan. "It's really nice to see that progression."

Below is a wrap-up of the legislators, party and state affiliations and key facts about their accomplishments and contributions.

U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

Brian Baird
D-Wash.
Re-elected for his third term
PhD in psychology from the University of WyomingBefore his election to Congress in 1998, Baird was a practicing psychologist in Washington state and Oregon and had chaired the Pacific Lutheran University department of psychology. Baird is a member of the House Science Committee and is a primary sponsor of the Patients' Bill of Rights, which seeks to reform managed care.

Timothy Murphy
R-Pa.
Elected for his first term
PhD in psychology from the University of PittsburgPrior to his election to Congress, Murphy was a practicing psychologist who held adjunct faculty positions at the University of Pittsburgh in the departments of public health and pediatrics. He had also been serving his second term in the Pennsylvania State Senate, where he championed health-care reform and was the chief sponsor of the Pennsylvania patient protection law.

Tom Osborne
R-Neb.
Re-elected for his second term
PhD in educational psychology from the University of Nebraska-LincolnWhile Osborne doesn't consider himself a psychologist, he has actively promoted issues important to educational psychology. During his first term, he established a national mentoring program. Among football fans, Osborne is best known as the former head coach of the University of Nebraska Cornhuskers.

Ted Strickland
D-Ohio
Re-elected for his fifth term
PhD in counseling psychology from the University of Kentucky; master's in divinity from Asbury Theological SeminaryBefore coming to Congress, Strickland worked as a minister, professor and clinical psychologist in a maximum-security prison. Among the psychology-friendly initiatives he has pressed for are the Patients' Bill of Rights to reform managed care and legislation that created a national demonstration program for mental health courts. He was also instrumental in getting inclusion of psychology under the Medicare Graduate Medical Education program. His wife, Frances, is an educational psychologist.

Diane Watson
D-Calif.
Re-elected for her second term
PhD in educational administration from Claremont Graduate School; master's in school psychology from California State UniversityWatson served in the California State Senate from 1978 until 2001 when her constituents asked her to run for the congressional seat held by the late Julian Dixon. A former school psychologist well-known for her fight for desegregation and tougher academic standards, Watson was the first African-American woman elected to the Los Angeles Board of Education in 1975.

STATE LEGISLATURES

Ruth B. Balser
D-Mass.
Re-elected for her third term the House of Representatives
PhD in psychology from New York UniversityBalser, a clinical psychologist, was instrumental in securing better coverage of mental health conditions in Massachusetts. She is continuing to push for full mental health parity in the state.

Phil Barnhart
D-Ore.
Re-elected for his second term in the House of Representatives
PhD from the California School of Professional PsychologyBarnhart is a lawyer and practicing psychologist. He serves as an adjunct faculty member at the University of Oregon. His interests lie in strengthening the state's educational system.

Joyce Beatty
D-Ohio
Re-elected for her second term in the House of Representatives
PhD in psychology from the University of Cincinnati and Pacific Western UniversityBeatty served as the House Minority Whip in 2002. She was the first black female board chair of the Columbus Pacific Western Urban League.

Judy Ann Buffmire
D-Utah
Re-elected for her sixth term in the House of Representatives
PhD in psychology from the University of UtahBuffmire is a psychologist in private practice whose key issues have included protecting the environment and mental health parity. She is the sponsor of the Utah catastrophic parity law; she will press for full parity in her new term. In 1995, she received APA's Karl F. Heiser National Award for Advocacy. She is the only psychologist legislator to have served as president of a state psychological association; she was president of the Utah association from 1999 to 2000.

Judy Chu
D-Calif.
Re-elected for her second term in the Assembly
PhD in clinical psychology from the California School of Professional Psychology Chu served as a faculty member in the psychology department in the Los Angeles California Community College District for 20 years. Among her top priorities are education, the prevention of hate crimes and improving the operations of domestic violence courts. She was named by the California Journal as one of California's top new legislators.

Alan Lowenthal
D-Calif.
Re-elected for a third term in the Assembly
PhD in psychology from Ohio State UniversityLowenthal is on leave from California State University, where he has been a psychology professor since 1969.

Louise McBee
D-Ga.
Re-elected for her seventh term in the House of Representatives
PhD in counseling psychology from Ohio State UniversityMcBee is a retired University of Georgia psychology professor and administrator who has served in the state legislature since 1991. Education and health have been among her top concerns. This year, she introduced a bill that would put an additional tax on cigarettes and cigars as a way to help curb smoking.

Dale Miller
D-Ohio
Re-elected for his fourth term in the House of Representatives
PhD in clinical psychology from the University of UtahMiller has been a tireless advocate of mental health parity in Ohio. Before coming to the Ohio House, he served in the Cleveland City Council from 1980 to 1997.

Yvonne Prettner Solon
DFL-Minn.
Re-elected for a second term in the Senate
Master's in educational psychology from the University of Minnesota--DeluthPrettner Solon's top concerns include education and health-care issues. She spent 12 years on the Duluth City Council. Solon was originally elected to the Senate in a special election following the death of her husband, Sen. Sam Solon, who had held the seat for almost 30 years.

Gloria Romero
D-Calif.
Re-elected for her second term in the Senate
PhD in social and personality psychology from California State University, RiversideRomero served in California's State Assembly for two years before her election to the Senate. Over the past 20 years, she has taught at every level of the state's college system. She's also conducted extensive research in HIV/AIDS education and prevention, which was recognized by the National Institute of Mental Health.

Leland Yee
D-Calif.
Elected for the first time to the Assembly
PhD in child psychology from the University of HawaiiYee, who came to the U.S. from China at age 3, served on the San Francisco School Board and the city's Board of Supervisors before his election to the assembly. He also served as a therapist in the city's Children's Division of Mental Health and as a school psychologist in the Oakland School District. His key issues will be children and families.

ALSO OF INTEREST

Pat Gardner
D-Ga.
Re-elected for her second term in the state House of Representatives
A nonpsychologist, Gardner has been executive director of the Georgia Psychological Association since 1977. She has been a strong voice for the mental health community in Georgia.