For Immediate Release
July 21, 2004

Fiona Hutton
Roger Salazar
(800) 931-2873

Valley Industry and Commerce Endorses Proposition 71

San Fernando Valley Business Advocacy Group Joins Broad Coalition Urging Passage of California Stem Cell Research and Cures Initiative

(Los Angeles) -- Supporters of Proposition 71 today announced the measure has been endorsed by the Valley Industry and Commerce Association (VICA), the leading business advocacy organization in the San Fernando Valley of Los Angeles.   Proposition 71, the California Stem Cell Research and Cures Initiative, which will appear on the November 2004 ballot, would provide funds needed for the development of lifesaving therapies and cures for diseases that could save the lives of millions of California children and adults and reduce health care costs.      

"This action to fund research for new treatments or cures for many injuries and diseases that result from the destruction, damage or depletion of essential groups of cells within our bodies is long overdue," said Rick Miller, chair of the VICA Healthcare Committee. "Should this measure pass, medical researchers are confident that stem cells can replace diseased cell populations within millions of patients, effectively reversing the symptoms of a disease, and perhaps, even curing it."

"Proposition 71 stem cell research will reinforce California's biotechnology sector as a vital economic engine for the future, create more high-wage jobs, foster the establishment of new businesses, and generate new revenues from patents and royalties that will benefit the state's budget for decades to come," added Miller.   

The measure is designed to be self-funding, with repayment of principal and interest from the state's General Fund deferred for the first five years. Such tight fiscal controls have spurred some of California's most respected business organizations, including the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce and the San Jose-Silicon Valley Chamber of Commerce, and both State Controller Steve Westly and State Treasurer Phil Angelides to proclaim the measure to be fiscally sound and a wise investment for California.

VICA joins a growing coalition of grassroots supporters including other business groups, Nobel Prize-winning scientists and medical experts, families involved in patient advocacy and efforts to cure diseases, and organizations like the California Medical Association, American Nurses Association of California, American Diabetes Association, Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation, Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation, Sickle Cell Disease Foundation of California, ALS Therapy Development Foundation, Parkinson's Action Network, and the National Coalition for Cancer Research.

It's estimated that 128 million Americans - including millions of Californians - suffer from diseases and injuries that could be treated or cured with stem cell therapies. These devastating medical problems affect a child or adult in nearly half of all families. They also result in hundreds of billions of dollars in health care costs annually.  

Proposition 71 was developed by a coalition of California families and medical experts determined to close the stem cell research funding gap. Currently, there is no state level funding for stem cell research and political roadblocks have severely limited federal funding for some of the most promising types of stem cell research. The initiative steps forward to provide the needing funding for lifesaving stem cell research, requires strict fiscal and public accountability, protects and benefits the state budget, and includes strict ethical deadlines.  

The Valley Industry and Commerce Association (VICA) is one of the most influential, non-profit, non-partisan business advocacy organizations in the Southern California area.  Established in 1949, VICA has approximately 300 corporate members, representing approximately 250,000 employees.  The mission of VICA is to encourage the economic vitality and growth of the greater San Fernando Valley region and to define, promote and advocate the agenda of its business community.

More information on Proposition 71 can be obtained at . More information on VICA can be obtained at .



Paid for by YES on 71: Coalition for Stem Cell Research and Cures, #1260661
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