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Government Relations Specialist
Funk & Bolton P.A.

Much of Neal Karkhanis’s work has helped improve and expand access to health care in Maryland, lowered costs and improved the lives of less fortunate people. In the last year, Karkhanis spearheaded efforts on behalf of Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids to end the sale of flavored tobacco in Maryland.

“Flavored tobacco, especially menthol, has disproportionately harmed communities of color, increasing the likelihood of disease and death among these communities. Though we were unable to pass the bill during the 2021 session, our work started an important conversation on the need to protect communities that have been targeted by Big Tobacco,” said Karkhanis.

Karkhanis’ efforts built a large coalition of consumer and labor advocates, public health leaders, faith leaders, parents and leaders in support of ridding Maryland of flavored tobacco products.

“It is not easy taking on Big Tobacco given their limitless resources; however, we have built the momentum to do the right thing in Maryland and protect our citizens from the poison that has infiltrated our communities. We have a lot more work to do, but we have built the capacity to keep the momentum moving forward,” he said.

Karkhanis’ believes in servant leadership and focuses on building and nurturing relationships. He believes this approach has helped him and his network make meaningful change for Maryland.

He is a member of the Health and Wellness Committee of the Maryland Democratic Party, and regularly volunteers at Ronald McDonald House as part of the Red Shoe Crew, volunteering time at the hospital and raising funds to supplement financing. He is also a volunteer for Keep Punching, a foundation dedicated to supporting patients, health care providers and researchers in their fight to prevent and eradicate brain cancer.

This is a winner profile from The Daily Record's VIP List awards. Information for this profile was sourced from the honoree's application for the award.