HARTFORD, CT - (JUNE 20, 2001) - State Senator Catherine W. Cook, R-Mystic, today was named State Legislator of the Year by the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO), the world’‘s largest association representing the biotechnology industry.

Senator Cook was honored for her "exemplary support of the growing research-based BioScience Cluster in Connecticut and her keen understanding of the value that new and innovative medicines bring to the world," said Patrick Kelly, BIO’‘s director of state government relations, at a ceremony today in Hartford in which Senator Cook was formally presented with her award.

Senator Cook is serving her fifth term in the Connecticut State Senate, where she is the chief deputy minority leader and a member of the Appropriations and Commerce committees. She also serves on the Select Committee on Children. Her district includes Griswold, Groton, Lisbon, North Stonington, Preston, Sprague, Stonington and Voluntown.

A tireless and caring advocate of improved health-care coverage for all citizens, Senator Cook has authored landmark legislation focused on women’‘s health care. She also has been an active voice on the issue of pharmaceutical coverage for senior citizens, and has been honored as Legislator of the Year by the Connecticut State Medical Society. A graduate of Connecticut College with a degree in human ecology, she is a national consultant to the health care industry.

The BIO award was established to honor public servants such as Senator Cook for their leadership and commitment to advancing biotechnology and promoting the public’‘s health and well-being.

"With this honor being bestowed on Senator Cook, Connecticut now has the distinction of being the only state in the nation where three top public officials have been so honored by BIO," said Debra K. Pasquale, president of Connecticut United for Research Excellence (CURE). She noted that Governor John G. Rowland was named Governor of the Year in 1996 and Commissioner James F. Abromaitis of the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development was named State Executive of the Year in 2000.

"This speaks volumes about the growing recognition that BioScience in Connecticut is gaining nationally," Pasquale said.

BIO represents more than 950 biotechnology companies, academic institutions, state biotechnology centers and related organizations in all 50 U.S. states and 33 other nations. BIO members are involved in the research and development of health-care, agricultural, industrial and environmental biotechnology products.