I didn’t come to Idaho in 1977 thinking I would be a small town doctor. I thought I would work on my step-grandmother’s homestead ranch above Wild Horse River. I liked fixing fences and putting up hay. But soon I realized I needed a larger community.
Another couple moved in with my step-grandmother, so Martha, my childhood sweetheart, and I left and set off to make a life for ourselves. We married on December 31, 1979, and then moved to Moscow for the winter semester. I had dreams of medical school.
Over the next two years, I received excellent instruction and mentoring from the most inspiring professors I’d ever worked with. Martha and I made friends, and we grew to love the community here. In 1982, I was accepted to the University of Washington School of Medicine as an Idaho WAMI. In 1986, I received my MD along with the Ted Phillips Award as the top graduate going into family medicine.
Family medicine attracted me because I am drawn to the big picture. The big picture of family medicine relates illness to the patient, their family, and their social setting. I value this understanding. This has led me to my interest in politics and public welfare. Martha and I were happy to come back to Moscow in 1989 with our four young daughters. I got to practice the art and business of medicine, and we’ve lived here ever since.
I was born in Salem, Oregon, a fourth-generation Oregonian, the third child with two older sisters. My mother was from a middle-class family in Portland. My father grew up in poverty with divorced parents in Halfway, Oregon. We moved when I was young to Southern California to a town that tripled in size from when I entered first grade to the time of my high school graduation. I experienced what that kind of growth does to a community.
My mother taught first grade for 28 years in Valley Center schools. My parents emphasized to us kids that if we got good grades we could get college scholarships. It worked. My oldest sister, Sande, was valedictorian and went to Stanford with full scholarships. She got a law degree after that at the University of California at Hastings and practiced and taught Native American Law. Jenny was also a valedictorian and got scholarships to Redlands College. She now teaches English in Japan. I went to Stanford also with scholarships.
College was a time for me to learn as much outside the classroom as in. I managed a cooperative kitchen that fed 50 students. This job paid my room and board. After working my first summer as a groundskeeper at Stanford Hospital, I bought a 1969 Triumph motorcycle. That winter I took it all apart and put it back together… twice. In 1976, I graduated with a degree in human biology with an emphasis in anthropology.
Education has shaped my life and allowed me many opportunities. Our children received great educations in Moscow’s public schools. My wife and I were very involved in their schools and activities.
Our children have grown and moved on. Katy, our oldest, has graduated from nursing school at LCSC and works in Boise. She married a hometown Moscow boy. Soona, our second daughter, now teaches middle school science in Lewiston, Idaho. Emma, our third daughter is married and now teaches grade school in Salt Lake City, Utah. Mattie, the youngest, is fighting fires this summer for the US Forest Service, and graduated with honors in Range Management from the University of Idaho.
My medical career has also been an education, both the school and training, but more so the practice. There were opportunities for exploration and leadership. My years as county coroner taught me admiration for law enforcement, and I learned to balance the role of elected official and public servant. I can be frugal, but this position taught me the importance of being frugal with the taxpayers money. These experiences as well as the many community members I have worked with and observed have inspired me. We all have tremendous gifts.
Yes, I want healthcare to be better in this state. But more than that, I want our state to be healthy. Healthcare is about disease and treatments, and the institutions that surround these efforts. Health is so much more. Clean air, good water, rewarding work, and the process of learning all contribute to health. Leadership in Idaho must see to this, and this is why I hope to be re-elected as your Idaho State Senator.