ADEA Washington Update

114 Million Votes Cast: Dentists, Health Care and Diversity Win

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WomanVotingIt is often hard to get everyone to agree in a country of over 325 million people, however we all saw that voter turnout was at an all-time high for a mid-term election, especially among women and young adults. The House of Representatives will be led by the Democrats, the Senate will remain under Republican control, and many races are still too close to call. The exact margins are not certain at this time.

Significant strides were made to increase the diversity in the Senate, the House, governors’ seats and state legislatures.  Two Muslim women won in Minnesota, two Native American women, and one Somali-American woman are just a few of the over 100 women elected to Congress during this mid-term.  Women are the projected winners of eight gubernatorial races across the United States, with three more races undecided in Georgia, New Hampshire and Maine.

According to national exit polls, voter diversity also broke records, showing the changing racial and ethnic demographics of the country.  These exit polls revealed that health care, immigration and the economy dominated voters’ minds as they went into the voting booths, with those mentioning health care surpassing the immigration and the economy combined.

All the Members of Congress who are dentists held their seats. Another dentist from New Jersey has won an open seat. They are:

  • Rep. Mike Simpson, D.M.D., (R-ID-2), who sits on the House Appropriations Committee will keep his seat. He is a second-generation dentist, having practiced in Blackfoot with his father until he was elected to the state legislature. He attended Washington University School of Dental Medicine.
  • Rep. Paul Gosar, D.D.S., (R-AZ-4), keeps his seat. He previously owned his own dental practice and served as the president of the Arizona Dental Association. He graduated from Boyne School of Dentistry at Creighton.
  • Rep. Drew Ferguson, D.M.D., (R-GA-3), will keep his seat.  He served as Mayor of West Point, GA, where he practiced dentistry for two decades before being elected to Congress. He graduated from the Medical College of Georgia (now the Dental College of Georgia).
  • Rep. Brian Babin, D.D.S., (R-TX-36), who practiced dentistry for several years in Woodville, TX will also keep his seat. He graduated from the University of Texas Dental School.
  • Jeff Van Drew, D.M.D., (D-NJ-2), a dentist and former state senator, is the winner of the NJ race. He owns and operates Van Drew Dentistry in Pleasantville.  He would be the only dentist serving as a Democrat. He graduated from Fairleigh Dickinson University.

There were:

  • 435 House seats up for re-election
  • 35 Senate elections including 2 special elections
  • 36 governor’s races
  • 30 state attorney general races
  • 26 secretary of state races
  • Over 150 major ballot initiatives
  • And hundreds of state legislature races.

A total of 157 ballot measures in 37 states were voted on, including a push for Medicaid expansion. Idaho, Montana, Nebraska, and Utah all of which passed the measures, which will expand coverage to low-income Americans in those states, including dental care for children.

ADEA is still going through all the results and examining how they might impact academic dentistry. A divided Congress may be a good thing, requiring Members of both parties to work together to find solutions for health care access and costs, rising student loan debt, the opioid epidemic, and immigration reform.  We will be busy introducing ADEA to the new Members of Congress, and to continue working with the White House, the administrative agencies to ensure that the voice of dental education is heard and considered in policy discussions.  We will also keep you informed and provide information useful in communicating with your state houses to ensure that academic dentistry, health care access and a diverse health workforce remain a priority. 

Duggan ad 2013