- The Washington Times - Friday, April 1, 2005

Governor plans veto of stem-cell research

BOSTON — Gov. Mitt Romney said yesterday he knows he can’t stop a bill that would give scientists more freedom to conduct embryonic stem-cell research, but he promised to “vote my conscience” and veto it anyway.

The bill passed the state House on a 117-37 vote Thursday night, a day after the Senate approved it 35-2 — margins that easily would override a veto.

“I’ll vote my conscience, but this is one that the story is complete,” Mr. Romney, a Republican, said yesterday.

The bill would allow scientists to create cloned embryos and extract their stem cells for research into the potential treatment and cure of diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, spinal-cord injuries and other conditions.

Ms. Wheelchair stripped of title

APPLETON, Wis. — Ms. Wheelchair Wisconsin has been stripped of her title because pageant officials say she can stand — and they point to a newspaper picture as proof.

Janeal Lee, 30, who has muscular dystrophy and uses a scooter, was snapped by the Post-Crescent newspaper standing among her high school math students.

“I’ve been made to feel as if I can’t represent the disabled citizens of Wisconsin because I’m not disabled enough,” Miss Lee said Thursday.

The move by the state pageant officials, led by coordinator Gina Hackel, is supported by the national board.

Candidates for the crown have to “mostly be seen in the public using their wheelchairs or scooters,” said Judy Hoit, Ms. Wheelchair America’s treasurer. “Otherwise, you’ve got women who are in their wheelchairs all the time, and they get offended if they see someone standing up. We can’t have title holders out there walking when they’re seen in the public.”

Brownback explores presidential run

Add another name to the list of potential 2008 presidential candidates: Sen. Sam Brownback.

The Kansas Republican, little-known outside his home state, is using a network of social conservatives and Christian activists to raise his profile in Iowa and New Hampshire, two states critical to White House hopefuls.

Mr. Brownback, 48, said Thursday he has not made a formal decision on whether to run and would not give a timetable for when he would decide.

“I’m exploring the options,” he said. “There’s a lot of interest in the topics that I’ve been pushing for some time.”

Mr. Brownback served as agriculture secretary in Kansas before he was elected to the U.S. House in 1994. He was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1996, filling the seat of former Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole, who resigned to run for president.

Report: Heinz had $423 million

PITTSBURGH — Sen. John Heinz III had about $423 million in cash, stocks, trusts and other property when he died in a 1991 plane crash, according to documents released yesterday, after a newspaper challenge.

The estate of Mr. Heinz — whose widow, Teresa, later married Sen. John Kerry — paid about $41 million in federal estate taxes and $17 million in state death taxes, the records show.

The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette sought the will and 10 other documents when Mr. Kerry ran for president last year, saying they could shed light on his wife’s charitable activities and indicate whether she used some of her inheritance to help his White House campaign.

From staff reports and wire dispatches

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