Richard Carmona

Richard  Carmona


  • NameRichard Carmona
  • Party Affiliationdemocrat
  • Start TimeJuly 16, 2012 2012-07-16T00:00:00-0700


Office sought: U.S. Senate

Age: 62

Employer and Position: Vice Chairman, Canyon Ranch; CEO, Canyon Ranch Health; President, Canyon Ranch Institute; Distinguished Professor of Public Health, University of Arizona College of Public Health; Pima County Sheriff's Department, Surgeon and Deputy Sheriff.

Education: Associates in Arts, Bronx Community College; Bachelor’s in

Science, University of California, San Francisco; Medical Degree,

University of California, San Francisco; Masters in Public Health,

University of Arizona.

Political Experience: None.

Top priority: To work together to solve problems and restore civility and rational decision-making to government.

How would you use your position as an elected official to help businesses create jobs in Southern Arizona?
Congress’ inability to function has thrown cold water on our recovery. We cannot continue to engage in partisan fights that threaten to take our country to the brink of economic default every few months. In order to get Washington to act responsibly to speed our recovery, we first need to restore civility to our political system.

In the short term, the government can provide hiring incentives and tax breaks for businesses that are creating jobs, especially targeted toward hiring our returning veterans. Over 30 percent of our young veterans returning home are unemployed. Through job training, continuing education and small business hiring incentives, we can power our recovery with a group of talented young people who have already shown a commitment to serving our community.

In the long term, the federal government can facilitate economic and job growth, but only if we start thinking about what's best for the people and not the political parties. If we create a fairer tax code that doesn't give out millions in tax breaks to companies with the right lobbyists, we could actually lower the corporate tax rates. Additionally, we should prioritize investments in infrastructure and education to provide long-term economic sustainability, rather than just short-term stimulus.

Should the qualifications for Medicaid or AHCCCS be broadened to make more people eligible?
I was disappointed to see Governor Brewer and the Legislature once again balance the budget on the backs of the most vulnerable last year by cutting thousands of Arizonans from AHCCCS.  As a doctor, I know that when you have large populations of uninsured people, you only escalate the overall cost of care for everyone else.

More than 75 percent of the $2.8 trillion we now spend annually in health care costs go toward treating chronic diseases, many of which are preventable. If we continue to decrease access to health care options, especially for the most vulnerable in our society -- including children -- the cost of care will continue to rise on everyone.

If you were in a position to vote on SB1070, would you have voted for or against it?
SB 1070 is a product of the federal government’s failure to act. I understand that frustration, but SB 1070 did not help us secure the border. Nor did it not provide a solution for the 400,000 undocumented people living in Arizona.

I’ve been a deputy sheriff in Pima County for over 25 years. I’ve witnessed firsthand the human cost of not having a workable solution. But SB 1070 doesn’t help local law enforcement fix the problem. It's a distraction that hinders our ability to build trust with the communities we serve.

Our immigration problems are complex, but the solutions are simple: secure the border, develop a pathway to earn legal status and enact the DREAM Act. Leadership on this issue takes courage, but it also requires politicians to stop using immigration as a wedge issue to score political points.

In a world of finite resources, what if anything would you be willing to cut to better fund education?
We need to start by eliminating wasteful spending and ensuring our tax dollars are being used smartly and efficiently. Our government is riddled with outdated, duplicative, and ineffective programs, but Congress is unwilling to shut any of them down.

Members of Congress are tasked with finding the best investments for their constituents dollars -- but they consistently fail to find common-sense solutions. For instance, simply allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices (as the Veterans’ Administration already does) would save taxpayers tens of billions of dollars.

Our federal budget is filled with examples like this where we can cut spending to better fund our most important priorities, like education, and start paying back our national debt.

Should local government fight to keep the Rosemont Copper Mine out or encourage the company to stay?
Copper is one of the key industries and resources of our great state, but so is Arizona's breathtaking beauty and unique landscape. I know there can be a proper balance between those priorities.

I will always fight for business investments and projects in Arizona. But until Rosemont can satisfy the community that their project will not adversely impact the health and safety of the people in Pima County, I cannot support their proposal.

What is the most important issue in your race?
Economic opportunity. I got my chance after enlisting in the Army and serving in Vietnam. I got to become the first in my family to go to college, it changed my life. But I fear too few kids are getting the chance they deserve.

We will rebuild Arizona's middle class by strengthening our housing market, improving our education system and building sustainable growth sectors here are home. But none of that can be accomplished without restoring some civility and rational thought to our political process. The career politicians that created the mess aren’t going to be the ones to clean it up.

I’m running to be Arizona’s next U.S. Senator to ease the burden on working families and to make sure they have access to economic and educational opportunities. In one generation, I went from a homeless kid to the 17th Surgeon General of the United States. I want to ensure an even brighter future for our next generation.


Race District Election Year Election Level Election Type Win
U.S. Senate Democratic primary Statewide 2012 National Primary
U.S. Senate statewide 2012 National General