Jimmie Lee has his own day

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Editorial: March 1, 2011

TOPIC: Jimmie Lee honor
OUR VIEW: Deserving award for his dedication
This much we know about state Rep. Jimmie Lee: He is passionate about mental health issues.
We have known that here in Hardin County for a long, long time. Now, the rest of the country does as well after he was named the recipient of the Jacob K. Javits Award for public service this year. He was presented the award Wednesday during a ceremony at the State Capitol.
The American Psychiatric Association selected Lee from a pool of candidates nominated from around the country. The award is named in honor of former U.S. Sen. Jacob K. Javits of New York.
The Jacob K. Javits Award is given to a state legislator biannually. Lee, who has been in office since 1993, is the first from Kentucky to receive the award.
Lee was nominated by the Kentucky Psychiatric Medical Association, whose executive director, Bonnie L. Cook, said, “Lee’s enthusiasm to speak for those without a voice and aid those who are affected by mental illness, addictive disorders and intellectual and physical disabilities as the reasons why he was nominated.’’
Cook said Lee was deserving of the award and highlighted his efforts to replace the nearly 200-year-old Eastern State Hospital in Lexington as well as a new crisis stabilization unit in Louisville.
Often, those in the public eye will flaunt what they accomplish. That’s not the way Lee operates.
Others, however, pushed forward in nominating Lee for the award. APA received letters recommending Lee for the award from various agencies, including child advocacy centers and mental health agencies.
Last Wednesday also was Jimmie Lee Day in the state.
In both resolutions, the House and Senate illuminated Lee’s position on mental illness and his willingness to champion legislation to curb the exploitation of elderly residents, offer advocacy support for children and create medical assistance programs for those who cannot afford prescription drugs.
Lee has found a cause over the years and has been a relentless proponent of mental health issues in Kentucky.
The national award just reaffirms what we have known for quite some time about Jimmie Lee. He is a voice for those who can’t speak for themselves.

This editorial represents a consensus of The News-Enterprise editorial board.