This week, state House Speaker Chris Sprowls, R-Palm Harbor, reached across the aisle to name state Rep. Matt Willhite, D-Wellington, to the Alzheimer’s Disease Advisory Committee.
The Alzheimer’s Disease Advisory Committee has 15 members and meets every quarter to help the state Department of Elder Affairs (DOEA) “regarding legislative, programmatic and administrative matters relating to Alzheimer’s victims and their caregivers.”
Willhite will serve on the committee for two years.
“Representative Matt Willhite is just the person Florida needs on the Alzheimer’s Disease Advisory Committee because he is a strong advocate for positioning our state as a leader in the fight against this insidious disease,” said Sprowls.
“I am confident that Representative Willhite will represent the Florida House and Floridians well on this committee,” Sprowls added.
“Thank you, Speaker Sprowls, for this honor. It is a great privilege to be appointed to this important committee, and I am proud to serve in this new capacity in the battle to find a cure. Alzheimer’s disease touches the lives of 560,000 Floridians, and that does not include the individuals who act as caretakers to their loved ones. As we look at the years ahead, let us remember that our work is not done on Alzheimer’s until a cure is found,” Willhite said.
During his four years in the Legislature, Willhite has active on bringing attention to Alzheimer’s, including efforts to designate a week in June as “Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia Awareness Week,” empowering the Alzheimer’s Disease Advisory Committee and creating a new position in DOEA focused on dementia. The Alzheimer’s Association has named Willhite as a Legislative Champion. The Global Alzheimer’s Platform Foundation (GAP) honored Willhite with the National Citizen Scientist Collaborator Award’s honoree “to acknowledge his extraordinary efforts to Alzheimer’s research through clinical trials with his mother at the JEM Research Institute.”
After serving as a corpsman in the Navy and serving as a firefighter and paramedic with the Palm Beach County Fire Rescue where he rose to the rank of captain, Willhite was elected to the Wellington Village Council where he served as vice mayor. In 2016, Willhite was elected to the Florida House and is currently in his third term.
Reach Kevin Derby at email@example.com.