Get active this election season!

by Dr. Joseph Adashek  President, CCMS

by Dr. Joseph Adashek

President, CCMS

Before I moved to Las Vegas, I never met a politician. I actually never met anyone even running for office. I had gone from UCLA to medical school, to residency and then Fellowship without ever going to any event to help elect anyone for office. About two or three years after I moved to Las Vegas, I got a message that there was a congressman that wanted to talk to me (for purposes of this article, we will call every politician male so I can try and keep some anonymity). I called him back with excitement—I had never talked to anyone in Congress before. I had no idea what he wanted to talk about, but it really did not matter. When I called him back he asked me for money for his campaign. I remember thinking that was funny because he was already in office. In any event, I of course donated to his campaign -- mainly because he asked and also because I really did not know how to say “no.” I also thought, foolishly, that maybe someday if I ever need something I will get something in return my donation. That of course, never occurred.

Little did I know that this was just beginning of people running for office, whether it was for the City Council, Governor, House of Representatives and Senators that would ask me for money. In time I started to ignore messages that I would get at my office. Then, I would get messages at my home that went unreturned and, finally, somehow, my cell phone would ring, and, when I picked it up, I would hear: “Hi Dr. Adashek, this is (fill in the name) and I’m running for (name of government position here) and I was hoping that you would contribute to my campaign.” Not only have I have phone calls from people running for local races, but also from people running for Congress in other states. There is only so much money to donate, and, I have finally learned to say “no.”

I was once asked to hold an event for someone running for office in my home. I reluctantly agreed. I never realized how hard it is to ask for money from my friends for people running for office. Although I know the political affiliation of my closest friends, I did not know the political affiliation of most of my medical friends and acquaintances. I realized how few people were willing to come to my event since there was $1000 charge for attending. With about 5 days to go, I only had about 8 people willing to attend. It was only with a great deal of begging some very close friends and some promises that they did not have to pay the whole charge did we actually get a fairly good turnout. I can honestly say that it was an extremely unpleasant “party” to host. However, I will never forget one physician friend of mine who is older and who I very much respect complimented me for getting involved in politics. He told me that he was proud of me for doing so and this would be a much better country if more people were involved in electing our representatives to Congress. That person went on to win the Senate race and I am now proud of my role in electing him/her.

I would say that my association with people in our State and Federal government has not jaded me nor left me cynical. Without exception, every person I ever met that was running for office or was already in office I found to be very likable person. I know this may seem naïve but I truly felt like they cared and wanted to do the best work possible for their constituents. Whether they were Republican or Democrat, they were always engaging, incredibly nice and wanted to make a difference.

I have actually been fortunate enough to meet two presidents. The first was Bill Clinton. I have never met someone who was so engaging. He made me feel like I was the most important person in the whole world to him. I guess that is the secret to his success. The other President I met was Barack Obama. He was pretty much the same. He was totally engaging and somehow made me feel like I was extremely important.

The bottom line is this: Clark County physicians can donate to MEDPAC. This is an organization that helps choose the best candidates for the doctors of Clark County and will donate to their campaign. Anyone that is a donor can be on the MEDPAC Committee to help choose the best candidate for office. It is a time commitment, however, you get to meet all the local candidates running for office. It is usually just the candidate and a few members of the Clark County Medical Society. It is an incredible learning experience and is actually fun. I would encourage anyone that wants to do this and get involved contact the Clark County Medical Society as soon as possible and they will tell you how to get involved. It is an experience that you will not soon forget.