Thursday, August 27, 2009

the ted kennedy federal research campus?

Perhaps we should consider naming the FDA Campus in White Oak for recently-passed Senator Ted Kennedy.

With so many celebrity deaths this summer, watching the news cycle find new things to report about the departed has become a pastime in and of itself. Following this trend, the online magazine Slate asks what buildings can be named after Senator Ted Kennedy, who passed away late Tuesday evening. They've found a potential candidate in the Federal Research Campus in White Oak, better known as home to the Food and Drug Administration:
Given Kennedy's devotion to health care reform, maybe it would be appropriate to get his name inscribed on the Department of Health and Human Services building. Unfortunately, HHS HQ was nabbed in 1977 by Hubert Humphrey, a former senator and vice president . . . the Food and Drug Administration is moving to new headquarters at the White Oak Research Center in Maryland, which will be home to several huge, as-yet-unnamed buildings.
Why not name part or whole of the FDA's new headquarters after Ted Kennedy? I'm not claiming to be a political science major (though I did take AP Government in high school), but it seems like the senator had more than a few run-ins with them throughout his long career. A quick Google search for "Ted Kennedy FDA" reveals three things that happened just this year. In March, Kennedy and three other senators proffered the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act, sought to reduce the occurrence of food-borne illness and prevent the spread of those that do arise. A few weeks later in April, a book came out critiquing Kennedy's involvement in anti-tobacco legislation. Shortly after, one of his staffers left to create policy for the FDA.

It makes sense to name the new headquarters of the Food and Drug Administration - an agency that directly and indirectly deals with the biggest health-related issues of our day - after a senator who devoted much of his life to improving the health of others. I also personally think it would raise the profile of East County to see the facility we've pinned our economic hopes on named for such an illustrious figure as well. The campus doesn't enjoy waterfront views like the Kennedy Center and RFK Stadium, named for Ted's brothers, but I hear the new pool at the Enclave across the street is pretty nice.

Looks like it's time to write our congressional representatives (it's mainly in Donna Edwards' district, but Chris Van Hollen and Steny Hoyer are pretty close by, and can't ignore Senators Ben Cardin and Barbara Mikulski because they shared a chamber with Ted Kennedy) and get this idea some attention. We wouldn't want to see them do something silly with Kennedy's name and put it on, like, the National Institutes of Health or something. After all, doesn't Bethesda have enough things named for important people (or nice things in general) by now?

Rendering of now-completed Building One on the FDA campus courtesy of Grunley.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Mikulski, as the most senior MD colleague of Senator Kennedy, would have the prerogative. Anyone else introducing it first would probably be impolitic.