Colin Brainard joined NACDS on September 21 as the new director of federal government affairs. Prior to joining NACDS, Brainard served as a senior policy advisor for U.S. Rep. Lynn Jenkins (R-KS), who is a member of the House Ways and Means Committee, which has jurisdiction over key pharmacy issues.
I worked with staff members from NACDS on issues, so I got to see firsthand how pharmacies were affected on certain issues…
Colin Brainard joined NACDS this week as the director of federal government affairs. Brainard brings eight years of experience in health policy on Capitol Hill, integrity and a great meet-cute story with him. NACDS.org caught up with him this week to discuss his thoughts on health policy, what brought him to D.C., and more.
Q: Where are you from originally?
A: I’m from Overland Park, in the Kansas City area, and I went to the University of Kansas.
Q: What brought you to Washington, D.C., and to politics?
A: In the final semester of my senior year at the University of Kansas, I participated in the Robert J. Dole Internship Program through the university and I interned for then-Senator Sam Brownback (R-KS) and it was a great experience. I think within a week of being in D.C., I thought, ‘This is for me. This is so fun. It’s so exciting.’ And so I finished my internship, went back and graduated, and then came back to work for Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC), and then I worked for Rep. Lynn Jenkins (R-KS) for five years before coming to NACDS.
Q: Why are you interested in health policy?
A: I had the opportunity to start working on healthcare issues for Congresswoman Jenkins when she was a member of the House Ways and Means Committee, and we got to really dive in and it was amazing. It’s a difficult issue to handle, obviously, but there’s just nothing quite like it. We got to work together on ways to streamline the Affordable Care Act, and we also worked a lot on NACDS-backed legislation, H.R. 1270, the Restoring Access to Medication Act of 2015.
I worked with staff members from NACDS on issues, so I got to see firsthand how pharmacies were affected on certain issues, and that was my entry point for learning about how pharmacies work and what is important to them. I was on the Hill eight years to the day when I left, so it was a great time.
Q: What is one thing about you that would surprise most people?
A: I got married last month—so I’m a newlywed. I actually took this job two days before my wedding. This is a new space in life for me in my personal life and in my professional life.
Q: How did you meet?
A: We met here in Washington. We played in a kickball league on the National Mall, of all things. We always had a great time together and finally, I thought, ‘Why have I not asked this girl out on a date?’ She’s amazing, she’s funny, beautiful, talented, everything. At our wedding, everything went perfectly. At one point, during the reception, Kristen said, “This is just how I imagined it.” I said, “Great, I am happy if you’re happy, that’s my level of happiness.”
Q: What is your guiding principle professionally?
A: Honesty and hard work.
Q: What do you bring to the table?
A: Relationships. I bring not only professional skills to the table, but also a personal touch. I know a lot of people on Capitol Hill, and they know I’m true to my word.