Former Southwest Washington congresswoman joins National Kidney Foundation board


Jaime Herrera Beutler, the previous U.S. representative for Southwest Washington and a former state legislator, has been appointed to the board of directors of the National Kidney Foundation.

In a news release at the start of June, the National Kidney Foundation announced Herrera Beutler was nominated and appointed to the board in March.

According to the release, the foundation facilitates the “largest, most comprehensive and longstanding patient-centric organization dedicated to the awareness, prevention and treatment of kidney disease in the U.S.”

Herrera Beutler’s tenure in Congress lasted from 2011 through the end of 2022. In 2013, Herrera Buelter became one of just 10 women in recorded history to be pregnant while in Congress, according to Politico. Herrera Beutler and her husband, Dan Beutler, were told their baby was unlikely to survive the pregnancy due to a rare kidney condition.

According to the news release, the disease was bilateral renal agenesis, also known as Potter’s Syndrome, which occurs when kidneys fail to develop in utero.

“Despite the devastating prognosis, Herrera Beutler and her husband fought and learned of a simple treatment (saline injections into the womb) that ultimately made their daughter the first child to survive this diagnosis,” the release stated.

Their daughter, Abigail, lived through three years on dialysis until her father donated his kidney to her.

“As the mother of a child that received a kidney transplant before she was 3 years old, I feel blessed that my husband was able to provide our first-born daughter with the gift of life,” Herrera Beutler stated in the release. “I’m honored to join (the National Kidney Foundation’s) board of directors and share my story and expertise with the largest kidney organization in the country because far too many people knowingly and unknowingly struggle with kidney disease.”

Herrera Beutler’s service as a federal lawmaker included service on the Joint Economic Committee and nine years on the House Appropriations Committee.

She became a strong supporter of kidney patient-focused legislation, introducing the Living Donor Protection Act — which expanded insurance coverage for patients living with end-stage renal disease — and the Advancing Care for Exceptional Kids Act, the release stated.

Based in Clark County, Herrera Beutler currently serves as a strategic advisor to the Children’s Hospital Association, providing insight on “key issues such as Medicaid investments, youth behavioral health crisis, pediatric workforce and the care of children with rare medical conditions,” the release stated.

In the United States, more than 37 million adults are estimated to have kidney disease, according to the foundation, and 90% don’t know they have it. About one in three adults in the United States are at risk for kidney disease, with risk factors including diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity and family history. People who are Black, Latino, Native Alaskan, American, Hawaiian or other Pacific Islanders are at increased risk of kidney disease, the news release stated.

“We are very excited. … (Herrera Beutler) brings over 15 years of knowledge and expertise in building and leading bipartisan coalitions that delivered key legislative victories for maternal health care, environmental protection, energy, timber and medical care for children,” said Tracy McKibben, the chair of the National Kidney Foundation board and a living kidney donor to her mother. “Jaime brings experience in bridging the gaps between policies and laws around health care and the families they impact. She also has a very inspiring connection to kidney disease. We look forward to working with her as we build greater awareness of kidney disease and ways to achieve optimal kidney health.”