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Jane E. Henney, M.D. - Groundbreaking Ceremony, White Oak

This text contains Dr. Henney's prepared remarks. It should be used with the understanding that some material may have been added or deleted during actual delivery.

Remarks by:
Jane E. Henney, M.D.
Commissioner of Food and Drugs
U.S. Food and Drug Administration

Groundbreaking Ceremony

White Oak, Maryland
October 10, 2000


Good morning, friends and colleagues. It is my great pleasure to join all of you today in celebrating the beginning of the FDA Consolidation at White Oak.

The road that led to today's groundbreaking has been long and somewhat rocky...but certainly well worth the trip. Today, as we slip the spades into the soil, we celebrate not just the construction of an edifice, but the work that will be housed here, and those dedicated to the protection and promotion of the public health.

For the building that will be erected will be bricks and mortar, wood and nails, but the impact of the work performed in this building will transcend its walls--touching the lives of millions of people--across the country and around the world.

Today marks a beginning. First, our CDER scientists and researchers will occupy this site and will reap the benefits of the contemporary laboratories and modern support facilities that will be constructed. Today's groundbreaking is also a benchmark in our long-held dream of achieving the consolidation of FDA headquarters. Facilities that will house our staff will provide an environment that encourages interdisciplinary collaborative efforts of the highest quality. This will, in turn, ensure that we can not only keep pace with emerging technology, but also lure top scientists from around the country to come and commit their professional talent to fulfilling our mission.

We acknowledge and thank many who have already given of their time and energy to make this day possible. There were extensive efforts on the part of our congressional supporters to ensure that the funding for this project would continue-including support from Senators Barbara Mikulski and Paul Sarbanes, and Representatives Steny Hoyer, Albert Wynn and Constance Morella. Maryland State Senators Ida Ruben and Arthur Dorman were instrumental in securing the state funding necessary to make the roadway improvements needed to support our development.

In addition, we have received support from the Maryland Executive branch on many levels-from the Governor's office to the State Highway Administration. And, both Montgomery and Prince George's County government officials have committed many resources in order to ensure that this development runs smoothly, including money for transportation, traffic, and roadway planning. And, there have been the community leaders-Betsy Bretz-thank you for welcoming us to our new home here at White Oak. In our decision to move forward with our new complex, we were always confident that this community would be supportive of the important work we do here at FDA. As your new neighbors, we look forward to a long and lasting relationship in this community.

We are also grateful for the help from the General Services Administration, the design architects--Kling Lindquist, our own FDA Office of Management and Systems, and representatives from the NTEU Local Chapter 283.

It has been a long time coming to this historic day. Your efforts, energy, and unending support have resulted in the beginning of a new era for the Food and Drug Administration, and thus, for the protection of the public health. In the words of Margaret Mead, "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it's the only thing that ever has." Thank you.