Dr. Richard Carmona has a prescription for the U. S. Senate:
The former Surgeon General of the United States is the Democratic nominee for one of Arizona’s two seats in the Senate which will be decided in November.
Democrats are hoping the accusations of hypocrisy, broken promises, and flip-flopping that marked the GOP primary weakened GOP Senate nominee Jeff Flake and his bank account enough to give Carmona the best shot in years. Arizona hasn’t elected a Democrat to the Senate since Dennis DeConcini won his third term in 1988.
Arizona Rep. Flake, a four-term member of Congress, vowed to repeal President Barack Obama’s economic and health care policies. “This will be a great race because there are big differences between our philosophies,” Flake said of his Democratic opponent.
Dr. Carmona, a moderate who served as surgeon general under Republican President George W. Bush, has been vice chairman of Canyon Ranch since 2006. He also serves as chief executive of the company’s Health division, and oversees health strategy and policy for all Canyon Ranch businesses, resorts, and day spas.
As president of the nonprofit Canyon Ranch Institute, Dr. Carmona has extended community health services throughout the Southwest. The University of Arizona named him the first Distinguished Professor of Public Health at the Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health.
The push by Carmona comes as the GOP is fighting to pick up four more seats to wrest control of the chamber in advance of votes on key policy issues such as the possible repeal of President Barack Obama’s health care law and changes to the tax code.
No stranger to Washington ways, Dr. Carmona has been a health diplomat for the past decade. As the 17th Surgeon General, he focused on prevention, preparedness, health disparities, health literacy, and global health. During his four-year tenure the definitive Surgeon General’s Report about the dangers of second-hand smoke went into effect.
The George Washington University Strategies to Overcome and Prevent Obesity Alliance (STOP) named Dr. Carmona Health and Wellness chairperson. Under his leadership of the Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease he worked with diverse organizations, from the Clorox Healthline Networks to the Vascular Disease Foundation.
Trained in general and vascular surgery, Dr. Carmona also specializes in treatment of trauma and burns, and served for over 20 years with the Pima County Sheriff’s Department in Tucson. As SWAT team leader he received the National Top Cop Award. After the shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Gifford, he helped victims recuperate at Canyon Ranch.
Born in a poor Hispanic family in New York City, the 69-year-old Dr. Carmona experienced homelessness, hunger, and health disparities during his youth. Enlisting in the Army, he became a combat-decorated Special Forces Vietnam veteran.
Dr. Carmona’s interest in public health stemmed from the realization that most of his patients’ illnesses and injuries were completely preventable. Prevention as an effective means to improve public health and reduce health care costs will continue to motivate his career if elected to the United States Senate.