U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin has opened up about her mother’s prescription drug addiction in a new ad.
In the ad, Baldwin, the first out LGBT person elected to the Senate, reveals that the crisis of widespread opioid addiction is personal for her.
“I remember what it was like to come home from school and not be able to get into the house. I'd pound on the door but my mother wouldn't answer,” Baldwin says in the spot, broadcast throughout Wisconsin beginning today. “She'd be passed out inside. My mother had a drug abuse problem.”
Baldwin, a Democrat who is running for reelection, has often said she was brought up primarily by her grandparents but has said little about the reason until now. After he mother, Pamela Bin-Rella, died last August, Baldwin felt freer to talk about her family’s experience, she told reporters last week, according to The Cap Times of Madison, Wis.
Baldwin will likely face a tough reelection challenge, as unseating her is a major goal for Republicans. Her Republican opponent, to be chosen in an August primary, will probably be either state Sen. Leah Vukmir or businessman Kevin Nicholson, The Cap Times reports.
On the opioid issue, Baldwin has been criticized for allegedly responding slowly to complaints that such medications were overprescribed at the Tomah VA Medical Center in Wisconsin. She said she wished her staff had been taken additional action to address those complaints, according to the paper.
She also has addressed the crisis in other ways. “Baldwin has worked with the family of Jason Simcakoski, a Marine veteran who died of an overdose at the Tomah VA in 2014, to pass legislation in his honor that requires VA employees prescribing opioids to be better trained and to follow Centers for Disease Control guidelines,” The Cap Times notes.
Watch the ad below.