Candidate wants to put 'Senator' on resume

Dr. David Ruben wants to make health care more affordable, invest in education

KINGMAN - Tucson native Dr. David Ruben is one of two Democrats signed up to run for the Arizona U.S. Senate seat Jon Kyl is vacating.

Ruben is running against Richard Carmona in the August primary.

His main reason for running for office is to improve the American way of life for everyone and their children.

One of his goals is to improve and make the nation's health care more affordable.

Ruben has graduate degrees in medicine and business from the University of Arizona. As a doctor he has practiced psychiatry, pain management and the treatment of other chronic illness. He's also built and directed medical practices and hospitals.

As a small business owner and employee, he has worked in the restaurant supply business and been involved in mining, fishing, forestry, coaching, building, publishing and writing.

As a doctor, Ruben said he has a number of patients who come to him with problems that could have been prevented or could be treated but they didn't have the insurance coverage or the incentives to better themselves.

The nation's health care system is one of the best, it just needs to be focused toward a common goal, he said.

President Obama's national health care plan that passed in 2010 is a great start, but there needs to be more, he said. One way to do that would be to offer people incentives to take care of their health and provide them with access to the health care they need.

The nation's economy also needs help, Ruben said. Not only does the government need to live within its means and pay down the debt, it needs to partner with business and invest in the education of the workforce.

President Bill Clinton's Back to Work program is a great example, he said. In it, people who were getting public assistance had to prove on a regular basis that they were attempting to get a job or were attending school in order to get the necessary skills for a job.

Everyone needs to pay their fair share of the costs of supporting the government, Ruben said. He said wealth in the U.S. has become concentrated in the hands of a few, which is not necessarily a bad thing. There is nothing wrong with someone being wealthy, but Ruben said the income imbalance isn't helping the economy.

If most of the money is concentrated in the hands of a few, then the average person doesn't have any money to spend to keep the economy going, he said. Increasing taxes on the wealthy won't hurt them, and would help the economy by supporting services that middle- and low-income people use to help themselves get better jobs.

We also need to take corporate money out of politics, Ruben said. Corporations will donate to any politician who will protect their interests, and politicians are unlikely to vote against the interests of their donors because they need the money to stay elected.

If we don't remove corporate money from politics, then the country will end up being run by corporations, he said.

The whole point of government is to provide a voice for the people, Ruben said. It's supposed to do what the people want, not what the corporations want.

At the same time, the government needs to develop an economy that does not destroy the environment in exchange for short-term goals and can conserve the world's resources for future generations.

Also, instead of trying to be the first in everything, the U.S. should help other countries develop their own sustainable economies. Doing so will not only help those countries, it will support the U.S. economy through increased trade, Ruben said.

The U.S. also needs to take a step back from the belief that everyone in the world wants to live like us. We need to respect the wishes and beliefs of other cultures, he said. Trying to force our way of life or way of doing things on others only increases the resentment toward the U.S.

The government also needs to look at the judicial and social welfare systems to make sure that those who need help or a second chance are getting that opportunity, Ruben said. Some of the red tape in both systems needs to be cut.

Ruben said he was also strong on national defense and public safety, but the U.S. can't go it alone. It needs to develop alliances with other nations in order to protect its own safety.

At the same time, the U.S. needs to be open to the idea of immigration, he said. This is a nation of immigrants. People came here for a better life for themselves and their families. There has to be a way that can offer opportunities to both those who want to come to the U.S. and those who currently live and work here illegally.

Government's whole purpose is to protect the vulnerable, guarantee individual rights and settle disputes when they arise in a way that treats everyone with respect, he said.

Elected officials have to look at the big picture to determine the best way to address their constituents' needs and plan for future generations.