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Dr. Gosar credits ‘teamwork’ for election to Congress

Dr. Gosar credits ‘teamwork’ for election to Congress
Dr. Gosar

Flagstaff, Ariz.—Dr. Paul Gosar announced his first run for public office at the May 11-13, 2009, ADA Washington Leadership Conference in the nation’s capital, launching his campaign five months later to unseat an incumbent member of Congress.

Rep. Elect-Gosar told the ADA News just hours after his election to Congress, “It was teamwork, and that’s what dentistry taught me.” The newly elected representative of Arizona’s sprawling first congressional district, the nation’s 10th largest, will join re-elected Rep. Mike Simpson (Idaho) as one of two dentists in the 112th Congress. Both are Republicans.

“I’m a health care professional and a small businessman,” said congressman-elect Gosar. “I’m mainstream America. I always represented my patients and my profession at the national, state and local levels. What’s good for patients and small business is good for the country.”

He cited “incredible” professional support for his campaign. “Getting dentistry behind us was number one (and) my campaign team was amazing.”

The campaign team included Dr. Rob Robinson, treasurer and chief advisor; Dr. Brien Harvey, assistant treasurer and editor; Dr. Rob Roda, editor, and Dr. Brian Powley, finance chair. Drs. Robinson and Powley are former officers of ADA’s Council on Government Affairs. Dr. Gosar was council vice chair when he announced his candidacy.

The Gosar for Congress campaign raised more than $236,000 from dentists nationwide, according to federal election reports. “I’ve had wonderful support (from dentists),” said Dr. Gosar. “I couldn’t begin to tell you how much and in what ways. They gave me the ideas to go forward with. I’m humbled that they got enough of me that they would invest in this district and in me as an individual. I’m built on many shoulders across dentistry.”

He said he had “tea party” and Republican party support and “worked with both” during his campaign. “Give me 10 tea party folks who really care and you can conquer mountains.” Rep.-elect Gosar also credited “endorsements from wonderful people who had name recognition,” naming former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as one. He said all but two of seven opponents in the primary “spoke on my behalf” and played “a key part” in his unseating Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (D), who conceded defeat by offering her support in his transition to member of Congress. “I don’t think we have a closed door. She is one of the people in the district who have some knowledge and knows the issues we’ll be working with.”

Dr. Gosar mentioned “a government running amok with its finances” as one of the issues and said, “the biggest one is health care. It is inappropriate that the government has stepped between the health care provider and the patient. I’m definitely against this health care bill (Public Law 111-148) and would like to defund or repeal substantial parts of this and truly open up the free market.”

Asked about the chances of outright repeal, he replied, “You never know. I’m a believer. Democrats realize that was blood bath last night and people are angry.” Change should begin with legislation he espoused with the ADA Council on Government Affairs and characterized in the interview as “revocation of the anti-competitive practices of the insurance industry,” Dr. Gosar said.

The Association will continue to urge repeal of the McCarran-Ferguson Act’s 65-year exemption from federal antitrust laws for “the business of health insurance” during the current Congress when it convenes for a “lame-duck” session before adjourning.

Dr. Gosar’s 25 years in dentistry ended when he sold his practice in May. “I still have my license and I’m still going to keep my hands in figuratively,” he said.