Next Tuesday’s election could shake things up on Capitol Hill in more ways than one.
There are four female doctors running for Congress as Democrats. And if one of them is elected, she will be the first Democratic female doctor in that legislative body, according to the Associated Press.
There are 14 doctors currently in Congress—all are men. There are four chances to change that on Tuesday.
- In Washington state, Kim Schrier, M.D., is running for an open U.S. House seat. The pediatrician is running in the 8th District where the Republican incumbent decided not to seek re-election.
- In Arizona, Hiral Tipirneni, M.D., an emergency room doctor, is running in the 8th Congressional District.
- In North Carolina, Kyle Horton, M.D., a former veteran affairs system doctor, is running in the 7th District, where she is seeking to defeat Republican Rep. David Rouzer.
- In Tennessee, Danielle Mitchell, M.D., a family physician, is on the ballot in the 3rd District.
(To date, only Donna Christian-Christensen, a doctor, served as a nonvoting delegate from the U.S. Virgin Islands.)
The women are among a number of Democratic physicians running as first-time candidates for Congress.
At a time when healthcare is the top issue for many voters heading into the midterm elections, the doctors are touting their experience in their campaigns. Schrier, for instance, wears a doctor’s white coat in her election ads and is framing her candidacy around healthcare issues, the Associated Press said. She is running against Republican Dino Rossi, a businessman and former state senator.
She talks about the issues while sharing personal stories as a patient, parent and pediatrician. She hopes the popularity of aspects of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), such as protections for pre-existing conditions, will draw voters to her, the AP article said.
In a Tweet, for instance, Schrier said her opponent will repeal pre-existing condition protections.
Dino Rossi will repeal pre-existing condition protections, making healthcare unaffordable for 300K people in #WA08, including Jenell: a mom of two who was unexpectedly diagnosed with cancer.— Dr. Kim Schrier (@DrKimSchrier) October 31, 2018
Watch our new ad, then RT to spread the word: We can't trust Rossi to stand up for us. pic.twitter.com/pcDlpfbOPP
The race in Washington state mirrors the battle going on around the country over healthcare issues between Democrats and Republicans. Democrats have focused on the GOP’s failed attempts to repeal the ACA, which protects people with pre-existing conditions. In Washington, Republicans have rolled out ads slamming Schrier’s support to expand Medicare, calling it a scheme that would increase taxes, the AP said.
Schrier isn't alone in focusing on healthcare issues. Mitchell, for instance, has talked about patients' struggles to afford medications.
First chart note of today starts with:— Dr. Danielle Mitchell (@DMMD4TNCongress) November 1, 2018
“ The patient is here for his medication refill. He is struggling to afford the cost of his medicines and needs to find a different solution.”
Solution: #Vote #Mitchell4Congress #Nov1stLastDayToEarlyVote pic.twitter.com/olX3RWsfCp
On her twitter feed, Horton said she's proud to be one of a record-breaking 257 women running for Congress.
ICYMI-Check out our live national TV debut @thebeat. Proud to be part of a record-breaking 257 women running for Congress to create a pink wave. Congress needs a woman doctor in the House! #Vote #MidTerms2018 #YearOfTheWomanhttps://t.co/DUbbvX2sGQ— Dr. Kyle Horton (@drkyle4congress) November 1, 2018
Schrier says physicians who are women can bring a new perspective to the table. “I just think we are losing a lot of humanity in the country right now and a lot compassion, and that’s what women physicians bring,” she told the AP.