I’m very hopeful right now. I attended a political event tonight for Rich Carmona who is running for U.S. Senator from Arizona. Senator from Minnesota, Al Franken, was stumping AZ with and for Carmona today.
It was fun to meet Al, and to hear what he said about Rich, but the whole gathering made me have hope for Arizona, and the U.S.; Al was psyched about Carmona, the place was packed, much bigger turn out than expected, and people seem truly energized and inspired by this amazing guy. Other than the “theme” song that blasted from speakers before folks took to the stage, and that I am still not so sure is the right one for the campaign, it was a good party. The song? My Sharona by The Knack. The syllabic fit of “Rich Carmona” and “For Arizona” does match “My Sharona” rather nicely, but really now… The Knack? And that song?
If you don’t know about him, prepare to be amazed by his bio. I’ve condensed and rewritten his story below. But you really ought to read the original, real, full bio on the Carmona for Arizona site.
Rich dropped out of high school, enlisted in the Army and went to Vietnam. In the service he completed his high school equivalency degree so he could become a combat medic and apply to Special Forces. Two Bronze Stars, two Purple Hearts, a combat medical badge and many other decorations mark his service.
After Vietnam, Rich became the first member of his family to earn a college degree, an Associate of Arts from Bronx College. attended Bronx Community College. He worked as a nurse which getting his B.S. from the University of California, San Francisco. Two years after that Rich completed his medical degree and received the gold-headed cane award as the school’s top graduate.
A general and vascular surgeon, he also completed an NIH-sponsored fellowship in trauma, burns, and critical care. A Fellow of the American College of Surgeons, Dr. Carmona was recruited jointly by the Tucson Medical Center and the University of Arizona to start and direct Southern Arizona’s first regional trauma care system. Eventually he became chairman of the State of Arizona Southern Regional Emergency Medical System, a professor of surgery, public health and family and community medicine at the University of Arizona, and the Pima County Sheriff’s Department surgeon.
Deeply committed to public service, Carmona has also served for over 25 years Pima County Sheriff’s Department in which he has served for more than 25 years as a deputy sheriff, detective, department surgeon and SWAT Team Leader for the Pima County Sheriff’s Department. He was part of a rescue team in the early 1990s that inspiring a made-for-TV movie about rescuing a paramedic in the wilderness in a snow storm by rappelling from a helicopter that then crashed. Carmona has received the National Top Cop Award and was also named the National SWAT Officer of the Year.
In 2002, Carmona was nominated by the president and unanimously confirmed by the United States Senate as the 17th Surgeon General of the United States. His campaign site summarizes that service this way, “While very successful as Surgeon General, he unfortunately also experienced the divisive politics that continue to plague Washington today — where the desire to score political points has become more important than solving problems, creating jobs or providing for those in need. That experience guides his current mission to become Arizona’s next senator and change how Washington works.”
In 2007, Dr. Carmona testified before Congress that political appointees had put partisan politics ahead of science — especially when it came to the public’s health — in hopes that shining a light on how the administration operated could bring change. He testified: “The job of surgeon general is to be the doctor of the nation, not the doctor of a political party.”
He returned to Tucson and Pima County where he again served as a deputy sheriff, he became the first Distinguished Professor of Public Health at the University of Arizona’s College of Public Health.
You could not make up a fictional character with this life story as no one would believe it. Carmona is the kind of man who should be in the Senate. Carmona is the type of man our Founding Fathers (and Mothers, remember the ladies…) probably envisioned to serve as Senator; war hero, respected professional in his field, and a sense of duty to his community and state who can serve as an elder statesman.
He will put the likes of Dr. Tom Coburn, Dr. Rand Paul, and Dr. John Barrasso, to shame as Senator/physician colleagues.
Carmona tells the story of his mother telling him that no woman has ever started a war and that equal rights will bring a more balanced world. He speaks with conviction that healthcare is a right and every woman has the right to control her own healthcare choices. He was homeless and hungry as a child and wants to see every child healthy and educated, and secure in the knowledge that the opportunity to achieve the American Dream and realize the potential to build a good, rewarding life still exists and is open to him or herl
I think it could happen. There was a symbol of promise and hope in the sky as Carmona spoke tonight. Arizona wasn’t always a Red State. Remember Deconcini? Well actually do not think too long about that one. But do remember the blueness of the the likes of Mo Udall, though that was House and not Senate. Any way, it has happened before and all that really needs to happen again is to get the info about Rich out there and let his life story speak for itself. I think he will appeal to many folks from Arizona all across party lines because in our hearts we all love America and want it to return to being a place where ours differences are our strength rather than grounds for disrespect, dishonesty, and destruction.
I was impressed that Al Franken seemed to be truly humbled to be campaigning for the man. Sure, Rich Carmona is a Democrat now, but he has served under a Republican President, and declared himself an Independent most of his life. He is an American who feels called to meet the needs of the people of Arizona for a Senator who really will work for the people, the citizens, and in the interests of the state and not just the corporate and industry interests that may or may not reside in Arizona and may or may not be good for the people of the state. He seemed to have impressed the hell out of Franken.
As a Tucsonan, he knows there is much more to Arizona than the caricatures of idiocy put in place by a handful of überlord land owners and corporate/ranch family dynasties through gerrymandering, election rigging, hackable voting machines, voter suppression, and other nefarious, but now commonplace, neo-con and tea bag practices.
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