Dr. Robert Townsend has decided to run to represent the residents of the 97th House district as a Democrat.
Incumbent Joel Johnson, R-Clare, is term limited and can't seek reelection for the district that covers Arenac, Gladwin, Clare counties along with the eastern portion of Osceola County.
"I am not a politician. I am a working physician. I have real life experiences building a small business," Townsend said. "I've worked with public defenders and heard their frustrations about the lack of funding for trials; I've worked with pain patients and insurance companies."
Townsend grew up in Gobles, a small town of about 2000 near Kalamazoo and graduated from Gobles High School in 1980, according to a press release. His father and stepfathers were role models and taught him the lessons of life. Growing up he was active in sports, hunting, fishing and ran a lawn service, which he said seemed to mow half the lawns in Gobles.
After high school, Townsend attended Michigan State University and participated in Army ROTC, earning a commission in the medical service corps upon graduation. It was at MSU where he met his future wife, nursing student Lori Haring (Cameron).
Upon graduation from MSU, Townsend attended medical school in Florida, completed his residency in internal medicine and entered practice in South Carolina. He and Lori returned to Michigan in 2005 where he founded Denali Healthcare and has been working with pain and addiction patients since 2010.
"I have real life experience I can bring to the House. My concentration is not going to be on getting elected next, but what I want to accomplish as long as you want to keep me in Lansing. Then I plan on going home. Being a doctor and helping people is what defines me, not politics," Townsend said.
Townsend would like to work across the aisle to pass legislation. "I am strongly opposed to the constant block voting we see - if the Democrats vote for it, the Republicans vote against it," he said. "This is not how things are accomplished. I prefer to work with people to get good legislation passed, and I have experience working across party lines as part of my advocacy for patients in Lansing. I understand the concept of living to a budget, of building a business from scratch, and I understand responsibility.
For more information on Townsend's campaign, visit RobertTownsendfor97.com.
Source: The Compassion Chronicles