Democratic Perspective was privileged to host Dr. Richard Carmona, Democratic candidate for US Senate.
His life story is one that should serve as inspiration to all Americans. Carmona was born to Puerto Rican immigrants in New York. As his parents struggled with alcohol and drug abuse, his family was homeless for a time. He dropped out of high school at age 16 and enlisted in the US Army. Serving as a combat medic with the Special Forces in Vietnam, he was decorated with two purple hearts and two bronze stars. Following his military service, he attended college earning his M.D. as a trauma surgeon.
Dr. Carmona’s resume includes service as a Deputy Sheriff before being named the seventeenth Surgeon General of the United States by President George W. Bush. He currently serves at the University of Arizona’s Trauma Care Center and as a SWAT team medic for the Pima County Sheriff’s Office.
Following are some highlights of the interview.
On the tone of the campaign:
“In my lifetime, I’ve faced adversity of many kinds, whether it was in combat being shot at or whether it was as a SWAT officer or doing rescue, but this may be one of the most hostile environments I’m ever going to be in.”
On why he decided to run for office:
“The reason I did it was for the right reasons. A lot of my friends; the cops; the firemen; the docs I work with started saying in conversations, gee, there’s a seat opening up, Senator Kyl is going to retire. You ought to run. My first answer was that I am running. I’m running as far away from Washington as I can. And then I gave it lots of thought over the next few months…and realized it was the right thing to do because the system is broken and we really need to start sending some reasonable people to D.C. to solve these problems.”
On his opponent, Jeff Flake:
“Getting to know him in debates and looking at his stance on a number of issues, like many people, I’m very concerned…where he is on senior issues, on women’s issues…the fact that he was a co-sponsor with Congressman Akin defining legitimate rape. These are really outrageous, ideologically-driven positions that don’t benefit any population.”
On Representative Flake voting against veteran’s benefits:
“Of course, he’s told me that I just don’t understand how Washington works. Well, Congressman, you may be the only one in the United States who thinks Washington works, because it’s not working…the Iraqi Veterans Association recently gave you a failing grade. In fact, other veteran’s organizations have failed you for your lack of support.”
On creating jobs:
“Most important, we have to start to look at the uncertainty in the business environment. One of the ways to do that is we need comprehensive tax reform. The system is broken. People don’t understand, every six months or year, Congress is taking actions to put a bandaid on a broken system. We’re at this fiscal cliff now, and they’re on vacation!”
On senior’s issues:
“These are earned benefits. Not entitlements. They’re part of the contract the government has with its workforce in a civil society that values its workforce. It shouldn’t privatize or voucherize, asking seniors to trust the infrastructure that has failed them.”
On women’s Health:
“The last thing you want to do is to place a barrier between a patient and doctor. Flake co-sponsored a bill defining legitimate rape.”
On the political attacks against him and his decision to run as a Democrat:
“Not too long ago, I was the Republicans’ favorite child, being recruited to run for office. But on the big issues of the day, the Democratic Party is the best fit.”
On his reason for running:
“This is about selfless service. About me having the privilege to serve you.”