Penobscot Nation Applauds President Biden’s Priorities to Focus on Cancer Research, Fight the Opioid Epidemic and Restore the “Made in America” Economy


Reflecting the government-to-government relationship between the Penobscot Nation and the United States, Penobscot Nation Chief Kirk Francis attended President Biden’s State of the Union address to Congress Tuesday night as a guest of Rep. Jared Golden (D-ME). Chief Kirk Francis applauds key components of President Biden’s agenda for 2023. During the address, President Biden indicated he would emphasize growing the middle class, focus on making progress on cancer research and mental health issues in America, increase resources to fight the continuing opioid epidemic, and launch a Made in America initiative.

“Almost every issue raised by President Biden impacts the Penobscot Nation and our citizens,” said Chief Francis. “We appreciate a President finally prioritizing the fight against cancer. Given how quickly vaccines for the COVID-19 virus were developed, it seems reasonable to believe that significant progress on cancer research and cures can be made if adequately prioritized. Almost every family in the Penobscot community has been impacted by cancer, and we appreciate this issue being elevated by the White House and hope Congress will do the same.”

The cancer rates among the Penobscot people are more than double the state and federal rates.

The Penobscot Nation also supports President Biden’s efforts to increase resources to combat the ongoing opioid epidemic. “I am tired of seeing our young people overdose on fentanyl or other opioids, and having to try to address the trauma that results from it. I know our community is tired of it too. We need more resources, including law enforcement resources, to keep these drugs out of communities,” said Chief Francis.

Finally, the Penobscot Nation commends President Biden’s Made in America initiative and the goals of requiring all materials for federally-funded projects to be made in America. “As President Biden implements his Made in America initiative, we ask that he remember to include Native America. The Penobscot Nation is open for business and we want to play an integral part of growing our local and regional economies. We need the federal government’s support in that effort, including helping to eliminate obstacles on our tribal sovereignty,” said Chief Francis.