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Ralph Neas (born May, 17, 1946 in Brookline, Massachusetts) is former President and CEO of the Generic Pharmaceutical Association (GPhA), a Washington, D.C.-based trade association, representing generic drug makers and suppliers.
Neas began his public service career serving in the US Army (1968-1976). As a Republican, he served as Chief Counsel to Republican U.S. Senators Edward W. Brooke (1973–1978) and Dave Durenberger (1979–1980). He later shifted parties, also serving as the Chairman of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights from 1981 to 1995. He was an unsuccessful Democratic candidate against Connie Morella for Maryland's 8th district in the House of Representatives in 1998.
From 1981 through 1995, he served as Executive Director of the nonpartisan Leadership Conference on Civil Rights (LCCR). At LCCR, Neas directed national civil rights campaigns including the Civil Rights Act of 1991, the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act, the Civil Rights Restoration Act of 1988, the 1988 Fair Housing Act Amendments, the Japanese American Civil Liberties Act of 1988, and the 1982 Voting Rights Act Extension. Senator Edward Kennedy, in a 1995 Senate floor statement, described Neas as the "101st Senator for Civil Rights."
He was chairman of the Block Bork Coalition in 1987. Neas is best known for involvement in defeating Robert Bork's nomination to the United States Supreme Court in 1987. (See Ethan Bronner's book, Battle for Justice: How the Bork Nomination Shook America.)
When Neas was President of the nonpartisan People For the American Way and People For the American Way Foundation (1999–2007), the number of members and supporters of People For increased from 275,000 to more than one million. He helped put together partnerships and lead coalitions to recruit and manage 25,000 volunteers for the non-partisan and nationally recognized Election Protection program (to help ensure every vote counts), to direct nonpartisan PFAWF programs that registered 525,000 African American and Latino voters in three years, to block a tax cut, to enact the 2006 Voting Rights Act Extension, to amend the USA Patriot Act, and to defend and reform our nation's public schools.
He took over leadership of the National Coalition on Health Care (NCHC) from Dr. Henry Simmons in 2009 and stayed there through enactment of the Affordable Care Act.
Neas is interviewed regularly by the major TV, radio and print media, including CBS's Face the Nation; ABC's Nightline; CBS's Sunday Morning; NBC's Today Show, ABC's This Week; PBS'a The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer; the nightly news shows of ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, and Fox; National Public Radio; cable television and radio talk shows; and national, regional and local newspapers (in the New York Times and the Washington Post alone, he has been mentioned 250 and 500 times respectively).
Neas is the author of over thirty published articles, op-eds, and commentaries in national media outlets, including the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, USA Today, Houston Chronicle, The Nation, National Public Radio, USA Today Magazine, and Roll Call.
He has been profiled three times in the New York Times, four times in the Washington Post, twice in the Wall Street Journal, and in many other media entities including: USA Today, Congressional Quarterly, The New Republic, the Washington Star, the Legal Times, the Associated Press, and The Baltimore Sun. Ralph has also been profiled in a number of books including: The Second Civil War (Ronald Brownstein), Giant Killers (Michael Pertschuk), The Battle for Justice (Ethan Bronner), and The People Rising (Michael Pertschuk).
He has been honored by organizations representing the spectrum of issues to which he has devoted his career, including the Hubert H. Humphrey Civil Rights Award from LCCR; the Benjamin Hooks "Keeper of the Flame" Award from the national NAACP; the Public Service Achievement Award from Common Cause; the Kennedy Lifetime Achievement Award from the Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund; the "National Good Guy Award" from the National Women's Political Caucus; the Isaiah Award for the Pursuit of Justice from the American Jewish Committee; the Flag Bearer Award from Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (P-FLAG); the Edison Uno Memorial Civil Rights Award from the Japanese American Citizens League; the University of Chicago Alumni Public Service Citation; "Citizen of the Year" from the Guillian-Barr Syndrome Foundation International; and named in 2004 one of Vanity Fair's "Best Stewards of the Environment." In May 2008, the national Legal Times designated Neas one of the 30 "Champions of the Law" over the past three decades.
- New York Times. "Longtime Liberal Advocate to Lead Generic Drug Group". Retrieved January 24, 2013.
- NNDB. "Ralph Neas". Retrieved January 24, 2013.
- Trandahl, Jeff (January 3, 1999). "STATISTICS OF THE CONGRESSIONAL ELECTION OF NOVEMBER 3, 1998". Retrieved August 20, 2009.
Constance A. Morella, Republican 133,145; Ralph G. Neas, Democrat 87,497
- Berke, Richard L. (October 18, 1998). "As Elections Near, Both Parties Reassess Prospects - The New York Times". Retrieved August 20, 2009.
...Democratic challenger, Ralph Neas, in suburban Maryland, began broadcasting a radio advertisement that castigates Representative Constance A. Morella for voting for an open-ended impeachment inquiry. Mr. Neas has an uphill battle and clearly is hoping that the move will enliven his campaign. 'I favor censuring the President but then getting on with the business of Government,' Mr. Neas says in the advertisement. 'The facts don't justify an impeachment.'
- "Ralph Neas". Huffington Post. Retrieved January 24, 2013.