Biographical Info (hometown, experience, specialty):
Conway Arkansas Group practice Ophthalmology currently with 5 retinal subspecialist, 2 Comprehensive Ophthalmologists and 2 Optometrists.
What other leadership positions have you held (AMA, Specialties, PACs)? When? I have served in various organized medicine roles over the past 20 years: past president Arkansas Medical Society, Past Board chairman Arkansas Medical society, past president Pulaski County Medical Society, past president Arkansas Ophthalmology Society, Past Arkansas Councilor to American Ophthalmology Association. Community Service: past Conway Civil Service commission member, presently serving on Conway Arkansas Aviation Commission, currently second term Arkansas General Assembly, District 72.
Which Program (Campaign School/Candidate Workshop) did you attend? Candidate Workshop, 2009.
Have you run for public office? What was the result?
Yes, Lost my first election in 2010. Successful campaigns 2012 and 2014 for the 72nd District seat in the Arkansas General Assembly.
Why did you decide to take part in the AMPAC program?
Another graduate of the campaign school had taken the AMPAC course and recommended that I take part.
Have the programs helped in your political/advocacy career? How?
The knowledge gained is of great benefit, especially when the campaign season comes around. I still refer back to the written materials. Campaigns are really a foreign creature to how we are trained as physicians. Just being a great Doc doesn’t translate to success on the campaign trail. There really is a method to the madness and educating ourselves with regard to all the nuances of a campaign is vital.
What was the most beneficial component of the AMPAC program for you?
Campaign finance, time management, building relationships.
Do you have any words of wisdom for other physicians or spouses who are considering a run for office or actively campaigning for a medicine-friendly candidate?
Of all the roles in which I have been involved, Public Service as an elected official has been a true honor and privilege. To represent not only my district but all the patients in our great state as the only physician in the General Assembly carries great responsibility. As I represent our patients, I also represent our profession. We need more physicians or their spouses to strongly consider running for office. Attend the AMPAC courses. Become involved in your local community. Get to know your local political folks from city hall to the courthouse. It’s never too late to nurture relationships. Step out of your comfort zone and work to develop those relationships. Docs are still well respected but you really must think outside the box. Political involvement means getting out of the comfortable rut in which we reside and exploring new ideas and opportunities.