Ariz. dentist headed to Capitol Hill

2009 02 20 17 38 08 856 Capitol Hill 70

In his first-ever campaign for a public office, Paul Gosar, DDS, of Flagstaff, AZ, defeated his Democratic opponent in the 1st Congressional District by running on a platform of cutting government and taxes. He hopes to do the same to healthcare reform once he gets to Washington, DC.

After receiving his doctor of dental surgery degree from Creighton Boyne School of Dentistry, Dr. Gosar began practicing in Arizona 25 years ago. Since then, in addition to running a successful practice, he has served as president of the Northern Arizona Dental Society, president of the Arizona Dental Association, and vice chair of the ADA Council on Governmental Affairs.

Paul Gosar, DDS, R-AZPaul Gosar, DDS, R-AZ
Paul Gosar, DDS, R-AZ

But earlier this year, Dr. Gosar decided it was time for a change and embarked on a campaign to take the U.S. House of Representatives seat from incumbent Ann Kirkpatrick. A mostly rural district, the 1st District includes much of the state outside the Phoenix and Tucson metropolitan areas.

"I have been very involved in dentistry and finished up my stint with the ADA this year where we were involved with things that were part of the healthcare bill, and I did not like what I saw as that bill was developing," he said in an interview with "People wanted me to step forward, so I did."

Noting that he is not a rich man, Dr. Gosar -- who was endorsed by Sarah Palin, among others -- sold his practice in May to focus on the campaign.

"This district is the 10th largest in the country and the second poorest," he said the day after the election. "My patients have been calling me all day long saying they are sad they lost their dentist but happy they got a congressman."

Top priorities

Once he gets to Washington, healthcare and the economy will be his top priorities, Dr. Gosar said.

"That is one of the things we have to get back in order. We have to get people back to work and back to being involved in their healthcare decisions," he said.

“We need reform, but not like this.”
— Paul Gosar, DDS, R-AZ

Dr. Gosar takes a similar stand on the issues of access to care and Medicaid cutbacks in Arizona that have affected many of the most underserved and vulnerable populations.

"Like any good businessperson, you have to evaluate the available programs and resources and look at the assets and make commonsense decisions," he said. "We have to look at this in a business sense. We need to allow access for patients and hold them accountable for getting there."

In addition, Dr. Gosar is opposed to the dental health therapist model being touted as a potential solution to access to care issues in rural areas.

"If we are going to allow people to provide these services, they should be held to the same standards I am," he said. "I think people want to have their doctor and accessibility, but they also live in rural Arizona for a reason, and they take that into consideration [when they move here]."

Dr. Gosar will sign onto any future measure to repeal this year's healthcare reform legislation, he told the Arizona Daily Sun on election night.

"We need reform, but not like this," he told "We don't need a bill that dictates every aspect of our lives."

Copyright © 2010

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