Issues

 

Veterans

As a 25-year Navy Veteran with three deployments – Army, Navy, and Marine Corps, I know what it means to serve our nation in harm’s way. The selfless dedication of our men and women in uniform inspires me each and every day.

We owe it to our Veterans to keep our promises and ensure they have what they need when they come home. That means access to a world-class healthcare system to heal the wounds they bore for our nation; and never forsaking those for whom the battle continues to rage after they’ve come home.

My commitment to Veterans didn’t end when I retired from active duty in 2016. I hung up the uniform on a Friday and was working as a doctor at the Phoenix VA the next Monday. Rather than take a less challenging or more financially rewarding position elsewhere in Phoenix, I knew the VA was where I was needed most and where I could quickly make a big impact on the lives of Veterans. As the first interventional radiologist on staff there in decades, I established programs to care for Veterans with cancer and liver disease and built the system’s first clinic and consultation service of its kind. That’s what personal commitment to Veterans is all about.

Working at the Phoenix VA allowed me to witness firsthand the valiant effort so many hard-working and dedicated staff make each day to improve the health and well-being of our community’s Vets. It also showed me the areas where we must improve. We need to fix a badly broken HR system that allows the few bad apples to ruin the barrel. It doesn’t empower capable leaders with the authority or agility to hire the right people to accomplish their mission. The system rewards employees who perform or behave poorly by allowing endless appeals and administrative actions, all the while blocking the ability to replace that person with someone who is capable and eager to work.

The VA system is plagued by contracting and supply challenges that are managed from a distance by bureaucrats, people disconnected from patient care who are out of touch with the folks in the trenches working hard on behalf of Veterans. This results in shortages, mismatches, and cost overruns – this is bad for Veterans and for taxpayers.

Some of these fixes can be accomplished locally, but many require acts of Congress.

I KNOW HOW THE SYSTEM WORKS, I KNOW HOW TO FIX IT.

As a Veteran, a doctor, and a former VA employee I will bring firsthand experience to Congress that no other member of Congress can. I’ll make the changes Veterans in Phoenix need to receive the care they earned.

HEALTHCARE: Putting Patients First

My healthcare plan protects those who are already sick, improves the insurance market, and strengthens the safety net.

While I have the experience of a practicing doctor, a Congressional health policy staffer, and a leader of a $50B healthcare system…it was a very personal loss at a young age that turned my focus to our country’s healthcare policy failings.

As a small business owner with just one employee, my dad relied on the individual insurance market to provide coverage for our family. Unfortunately, my mom had numerous pre-existing diagnoses which shut her out of affordable insurance coverage for our middle-class family. When she had a catastrophic stroke at age 57, we didn’t have the coverage to pay her medical bills. After a brave struggle in the ICU, she lost the battle just a month after my 20th birthday. Our family’s savings were wiped out.

Eventually, I gathered the means to take out a mortgage on my childhood home so my dad could stay in the home where he and my mom raised their children. I realize that not all families laid low by catastrophic illness are so lucky, however, which is why I’m committed to making sure everyone has access to affordable health insurance regardless of their health or economic status.

Every American deserves access to high quality, affordable healthcare.

Healthcare is one of our most important domestic issues. At almost $3.5 trillion spent last year, it consumes almost 20% of the entire American economy. That’s money families can’t afford and the country can’t use for priorities like education, infrastructure, or defense. And for all that spending, patient access and clinical outcomes are mediocre, at best.

Our current healthcare system is failing patients, families, and businesses — especially here in Arizona where we’ve experienced some of the highest premium increases in the country. It pains me each day in my medical practice to see even middle-class families forced to choose between medicine, food, and rent.

Real Experience

As a practicing physician for nearly 25 years, I know firsthand the emotional and financial struggles families face. Leveling the healthcare playing field is one of my top priorities in Congress. As a Navy physician for 21 years, I dedicated my career to the health and well-being of deployed servicemembers, their families, and retirees. Keeping our patients healthy so that they’re fit to fight at a moments’ notice was job one, and that mindset translates to civilian healthcare as well.

Proven Success and Leadership

As the Navy’s Chief Medical Officer and Director of Clinical Operations, I helped lead one of the nation’s finest healthcare systems: a worldwide network of ~9.5 million patients, 63,000 dedicated healthcare professionals, and an annual budget of $50 billion. From supporting troops in Afghanistan and Iraq to halting the spread of the Ebola virus in 2014, everyday presented unique challenges and opportunities. Directly accountable to Congress and the Secretary of Defense, we ensured that millions of military families enjoyed outstanding levels of Access, Quality, and Safety in their healthcare experience. Because when a Soldier, Sailor, Airman, or Marine is in the fight, we make sure they’re never distracted having to worry about their family’s health.

When it comes to fixing our broken healthcare system, I’ll bring the experience of a leader and the compassion of a doctor to Washington.

My detailed, three pronged plan gets healthcare working for patients. My plan:

  • Strengthens Medicaid
  • Protects patients with pre-existing conditions
  • Fixes insurance markets

To read more, click here.

Economy & Jobs

The current pro-growth economic policies have produced record job creation with 96 consecutive months of job growth – double the previous record. Unemployment rates for African-Americans and Hispanics are near all-time lows and new job opportunities are appearing for the less-educated, disabled, and those with criminal records.1 This job growth is spurred by robust economic growth and historic consumer confidence. These policies are finally rebuilding the middle-class and narrowing the wage gap. It’s critical that we don’t give up these hard-earned gains by reverting to a high-tax, high-regulation environment.

1https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/05/business/economy/jobs-report.html

Instead, we have an opportunity to not only continue this wave of economic prosperity but to build on it and extend it to even more families. In Washington, I’ll fight to ensure everyday Americans get their tax cut made permanent so that it’s not just for corporations. I’ll fight to continue to repeal job-killing regulations so that entrepreneurs and small business owners of all shapes and sizes can dream and invest with confidence, reassured that their business assumptions won’t be betrayed by big government overreach.

I will fight for policies that help Arizona continue to be a destination for businesses from around the country and around the world. That we are a destination not simply for our great weather and our natural beauty, but also because of our highly trained workforce and our pro-business culture.

National Security

America is nothing without its security but I believe in Peace through Strength. Today’s world is a more dangerous place than at any time since the Cold War. To tame these risks, I will bring experience, courage, and servant leadership to Washington.

With fewer Veterans in Congress than at any time in our nation’s history, there is an acute lack of experience in Washington, DC. Historically, Members of Congress who have served in battle are less likely to commit troops to foreign military entanglements, but when they do, they are more committed to well-defined goals and an emphasis on mission success.

We need people in Congress who make the safety of the American people their first priority, people who swore to protect and defend the Constitution and volunteered their own safety to do so. I spent 25 years in uniform, volunteered to go to Afghanistan, and deployed with the Army, Navy, and Marine Corps, retiring as a Navy Captain. Only Veterans understand firsthand what is being asked of service members who go into harm’s way, and how to use the military successfully once that decision is made. A true family commitment, my dad is a Korean War Veteran and my wife is an active duty Navy Captain in her 27th year of Naval service. As a couple, we have >52 years of active duty military service and when elected, I will be the only military family member in the House or Senate.

The disastrous policy of sequestration initiated in 2011 has left our military hollowed out and less prepared to confront current and future threats. Recent restorations in military funding are an important start but military leaders must have the confidence that funding will be maintained so priorities can be properly addressed. I am 100% committed to a strong military and a strong national defense. I will hold civilian leaders accountable so that our men and women deployed overseas have the tools and the policies they need to successfully execute their mission and return home safely.

Immediate challenges I plan to confront include:

  • America soon begins its 18th year of war in Afghanistan at great expense of both blood and treasure.
  • China is surging and attempting to gain a military advantage over the United States and advance its holdings throughout Asia and Africa. Their unlawful annexation and development of territories in the South and East China Sea are a threat to American security and global commerce.
  • Russia continues to hostilely reassert itself under Putin’s leadership. It continues to aid and abet state and non-state actors who seek to harm America and a democratic world order. Through state-sponsored agencies, Russia actively inserts itself with an eye to disrupt the American way of life from meddling in our elections to conducting all forms of military and economic espionage.
  • Iran, the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism remains intent on doing harm to America and our allies, most notably Israel. While the withdrawal from the JCPOA was a step in the right direction, increased vigilance and active engagement are critical to protecting Americans and our interests throughout the Middle East.
  • North Korea remains an unpredictable and untrustworthy menace. Their nuclear capabilities pose a grave threat to America and our allies, especially South Korea and. Japan. A robust commitment to both defense and diplomacy must be maintained with a clear-eyed understanding that they have made false promises in the past to achieve short-term economic or security gains.

Immigration & Border Security

 

Legal immigration is the lifeblood of our country’s past, present, and future. It’s near and dear to me since my grandfather was a poor, uneducated, orphaned immigrant when he came to Ellis Island in 1904 at only 8 years old. He built a successful, working-class life for his family. Through hard work and combat service, we’ve realized the American Dream. One of my principal goals in Congress is ensuring that the escalator of opportunity that my family has enjoyed remains alive and well for future generations.

Immigration Reform

Our immigration system has been broken for far too long, it’s time we send a problem-solver to get things on track. Our current system and our porous border allow drug and human traffickers to viciously exploit children, corrode our very social fabric, and cause more deaths each year in America than during the entire Vietnam War. It’s also forced thousands of hard-working and law-abiding Dreamers to live in the shadows and neither contribute nor achieve their full potential.

I have a detailed plan to sensibly secure the border, move us forward on DACA, and finally transition to an immigration policy that ensures our security yet supports our economy. To read all about it, click here.

Equality for Women

I have been blessed with outstanding female role models throughout my life. Despite humble origins and with little formal education, my Mom showed an indefatigable spirit and instilled me with the belief that anything is possible. Her love, strength, and independence made a profound impact on me and although I lost her just after my 20th birthday, she continues to guide me each day.

My better half for over 23 years, Elizabeth is a brilliant Berkeley graduate who has dedicated her professional life to children and the country as a Pediatric Nephrologist and a Captain in the Navy. In her 27th year of active duty service, she manages to miraculously balance the demands of being mother, physician, and Naval Officer.

Throughout my career, I have been deeply influenced by women mentors. I had the great fortune of learning my field from two of the world’s best Interventional and Pediatric Interventional Radiologists: Anne Roberts, MD and Patricia Burrows, MD; and Admiral (Ret.) Christine Hunter inspired and supported me as a Congressional Fellow, confident that we could make a difference in the lives of Americans.

In Washington I will tirelessly fight for women. Whether it’s equal pay for equal work, leadership and educational opportunities, or empowerment of traditional family roles I believe that our community and our nation will thrive when women are given the opportunities to achieve their fullest potential

Education

Education: Priority One

I know the importance of a great education and the integral role teachers play in making an education great. I know because I benefitted from just that experience. After nearly 50 years, I can still name every one of my teachers because each one had such a profound impact on my success and my character. In 2nd grade, Miss Flynn taught me to love school – so much so that I spent 28 years in it. Mrs. McNeil, my 4th grade teacher, praised my aptitude in science and planted the first seed in my imagination of becoming a doctor. In 7th grade Mr. Duran taught me to read novels critically, and to extend that skill into my daily life. The list goes on and on…

Securing adequate funding for education in Arizona tops my priority list. For the sake of Arizona’s kids, we must secure and stabilize our educational funding stream in order to recruit and retain the best teachers. We need to make the profession rewarding both personally and economically. While most who seek federal office dodge the tough education questions, claiming they’re state/local issues, I have a plan to vastly improve education funding so we can pay our teachers not only a fair wage, but an attractive wage. We need the ability to recruit and retain the best of the best. Arizona’s kids deserve it. Read all about my plan to secure education funding here. 

Education: Close to my Heart

As a university Professor for over 15 years and a leader in Graduate Medical Education, I’m a teacher who knows the challenges we face at every grade level, especially K-12.

A high-quality education is the foundation for economic and social success and the best hope for a bright American future. Education fuels the engine of innovation, creates entrepreneurs, and trains the workforce of the 21st century. Education is also a fundamentally local issue. Our children are unique and extraordinary and the notion that a one-size-fits-all teaching paradigm passed down by Washington bureaucrats could ever work is simply foolish.

Standards not Standardization

Parents and local educators know the skills their children need to be competitive in a modern economy and a complex world. They are best positioned to ensure those educational needs are met, sensitive to unique differences across the country and across town. I will fight to keep big government and DC bureaucrats out of our children’s schools and end the practice of extorting compliance as a quid pro quo for federal dollars.

Cybersecurity

There can be few higher priorities than a strong cybersecurity program that ensures American safety.

I will fight to ensure that your personal information is safe and secure and kept out of the hands of criminals, fraudsters, and hackers.

Power grids, communications networks, and transportation systems all work on a digital backbone which simultaneously gives us great scale and efficiency but also great vulnerability. Cyber terrorists and hostile governments see these as soft targets that can wreak havoc on our safety, our economy, and our quality of life. In Washington, I will fight to modernize our technology infrastructure and ensure that America’s best and brightest tech minds are put to work to safeguard our interests.

Opioid Epidemic

Communities in Arizona and across America are seeing their social fabric unraveled by the scourge of the opioid epidemic.

The numbers are staggering. Each year we are losing as many Americans to opioid overdose than we lost during the entire Vietnam War. This growing pandemic led to 790 deaths in our state in 2016 – the highest annual total in Arizona’s history.

This violent killer is largely a potent synthetic narcotic known as fentanyl. The Department of Homeland Security has identified two sources for this illicit fentanyl threat: China and Mexico. Labs in China illicitly produce the drug, 50-100 times more potent than morphine, and ship it to Mexico. Ruthless drug cartels exploit this lucrative trade to kill Americans and devastate survivors. A single cartel purchase of $3,000 -$5,000 of fentanyl sells for $1.5 million on the illicit market; making it even more profitable than heroin.

According to a recent hearing by the House Energy and Commerce Oversight Committee, most of the fentanyl is being smuggled across a “porous border” with Mexico. Trafficking occurs by foot, car, drone, or even launched by catapult. Fentanyl also poses a unique risk to our brave law enforcement agents: during apprehension of these smugglers lethal doses can be inhaled and absorbed through the skin.

Our strategy to combat this menace must be multifaceted:

  • We must immediately secure our southern border and deny drug cartels access to our communities.
  • We must find and prosecute those who launder illicit drug money.
  • We must pressure China to crack down on the laboratories that produce these drugs.

As a physician, I know firsthand what a devastating toll this takes on patients and families. In addition to legislative strategies to combat this problem, I’ll ensure that we commit the resources necessary to develop alternative means to prevent patients from becoming addicted to painkillers and to break the cycle of addiction.

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