March 13, 2016

About Dr. Robert Townsend

Dr. Robert Townsend

Dr. Robert Townsend and Friend

Dr. Robert Townsend

was born in 1962 in Buffalo NY and was raised in a typical Midwestern family in Kalamazoo, Michigan. He attended Spartan University (Go Green) aka Michigan State University and he worked his way through school as a Paramedic in nearby Lansing. While at MSU he participated in Army ROTC and was commissioned.  Next he attended Medical School in North Miami Beach Florida. After competing his internal medicine residency in Columbus OH (Not an OSU fan) he opened a private practice in a small town in South Carolina.

Dr. Townsend married his wife Lori in 2000 who also has dedicated her life to the service of others as a Registered Nurse. They have raised three children in the Clare public school system and been residents of Clare since 2010. Lori has been a lifelong resident from Clare and  most of her extended family (Harings and Camerons) continue to reside in the district. She also attended MSU providing much needed support opposing the both of Bob’s parents who attended Michigan, making for interesting football weekends.

Dr. Townsend has been a student and experienced student loans. Dr Townsend has worked at an entry position as an EMT. Dr. Townsend is a father, husband, brother, and a son. Dr. Townsend is a veteran of the US Army as an enlisted combat medic,  he was commissioned as an officer through Michigan State Army ROTC, and served the VA as a doctor. Dr. Townsend is a private pilot and a gun owner who enjoys hunting, fishing and long distance target shooting. Dr. Townsend is a tax payer and a small business owner.   He built a medical practice with 10 offices in just 6 years. Many of these experiences have provided him the experiences to speak for us.

Bio written by Attorney Dan Hartman, friend and witness to his life, his character and his integrity.

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Beth and Katie with signs

Beth and Katie with signs

From Dr. Bob Townsend

Why should you vote for me?  That is a fair question.  Joel Johnson, our current Representative, is term limiting out this year.  We have 7 candidates to replace him, and we are all civic minded individuals and I think you would do well with any of them as first time Representatives.  We all have strengths and flaws, so what makes me different and deserving of your vote?

I’m a 53 year old physician, trained in Internal Medicine, and I’ve devoted my life since age 19 to caring for patients- assessing their problems and coming up with solutions tailored to their condition and situation.  I’ve made hard decisions and I am sure a few mistakes in the last 34 years.  But overall, I’ve also put my patients and their needs first.

 My Practice Focuses on ‘Forgotten Patients’

While trained in Internal Medicine, I’ve specialized in the care of those suffering from chronic pain and struggling with addiction.  I think what attracted me to this field from my successful general internal medicine practice was the fact these are the ‘forgotten patients’.  These are the folks that need my help the most- and their options in general medicine, as many of you may know, are limited.  Too often they are brushed aside because their doctors are unfamiliar with chronic pain and uncomfortable with addiction.  They want this to be the ‘other doctor’s problem’, yet there were few doctors willing to accept the the patients- there is real fear out there from the state and the DEA for doctors that treat pain, and significant prejudice against the patients requiring those services.  I was one that stepped forward to serve them, despite the well founded fear.

I’ve also championed alternative medicine.  Medical Marijuana, while not for everyone, has reduced the needs of many pain patients for dangerous narcotics.  My data, covering thousands of patients, show that folks using cannabis for chronic pain can and DO reduce their use of narcotics by 60-75%.  Considering Michigan doctors wrote for more than 745,000,000 doses of norco, even reducing this by 50% could have a very significant impact on public health.

Addiction to pain medicine is endemic in Michigan, and there is a shortage of trained addiction specialists such as myself.  Addiction is a medical problem, but the legislature treats it as a criminal justice issue.  I think that by sending me to Lansing you will return this focus to the patient, not the courts.  My expertise in the field will return leadership on this issue from the 97th.  I hope to resolve some of the frustration many of you have with pain management, being forced to choose between therapies that are BOTH working, and losing your jobs over something you are legally allowed to use.

A ‘Crime’ Requires a Victim

As for criminal justice reform, I’ve had extensive interactions with the court systems- mostly as an expert witness but also as a defendant and a litigant.  I’ve seen how the system works, witnessed unfairness and draconian judgements.  I find it shameful that some 90-95% of all criminal cases are plead without a day in court, and the fact we spend more than $1,000,000 in the district on the prosecution of minor offenses makes me believe there is a better way to enforce our laws.  I feel crime requires a victim, and without a victim it is a simply violation of the rules best handled with a fine.

Education is an Investment in the Future

Michigan is ranked 40/50 states for education.  This is shameful.  We are spending our time worrying about who is using what bathroom, and complaining about teaching methods we never bothered to review. What we need to concentrate on is understanding, critical thinking and life skills.  One employer I spoke with said they were looking for employees that could show up on time and read a tape measure- the 5 positions they are trying to fill are still empty.

We need to teach life skills at the middle and high school level- practical math, cooking, shop, how to balance a checkbook and how to pay your taxes.  The basics of civics to be informed voters.  How to write a letter.  How our bodies work and how to do basic first aid and CPR.  The basics of nutrition and healthy cooking.  Students should have the opportunity for vocational education and college preparatory classes.

More than 50% of our teachers will retire in the next 10 years.  We lose 10% per year because good teachers can make more in their fields in private industry.  They need better pay not only to reward them for the essential role in our society they play, but to encourage the best and brightest to choose teaching over private industry.  Our next generation is only as smart as we train them today.  We must realize that potential fully.  As Steve Jobs, the founder of Apple once said ‘Look around you, everything you see was imagined and built by people no smarter than you’.  We need to instill the love of learning and ‘need’ for innovation to our young people.

Government should help the Economy, not HINDER it

Government has many purposes- to provide basic services (roads, safety, environment).  It should also encourage growth and development to allow its citizens to reach their full potential.  While economic planning requires some structure, and obviously an unregulated free for all is probably not in our best interests, it is the role of government to minimize its intrusion in our affairs.  Government should be a source of ASSISTANCE rather than a roadblock of forms, red tape, and micro-management.

The role of the legislature should not be to find new ways to hamper us with forms and regulations any more than it should find new and ever more creative ways to give us criminal records.  Just as every new law should ask ‘who are we serving, who are we protecting?’ every new regulation should be based on making things easier to do, more efficient and safer.  Much time and effort can be saved by computerizing and simplifying the millions of forms our state uses and reducing redundancy.  Why do I have to type in my name, address, social and phone number on 15 separate forms required to apply for one program- typing it in once should be sufficient if the process is streamlined.

And Finally

I am a physician, not a politician.  Being a doctor is what defines me and I am not looking for a career in Lansing.  But there are things that I’ve noticed in 34 years of taking care of people, of working IN THE ECONOMY, that I feel are not getting the attention they require for Lansing.  Our capital is full of lawyers, career politicians, and lobbyists who view the world from a ‘what can this do for me’ aspect.

Every now and then, you need the intelligent, analytical and caring guy that sits in the back of the room, raises his hand, and asks the tough questions.  Why are we doing it this way?  How does this help the People of Michigan?  What do we NEED this regulation for, and how can we make it easier for the average person?

That person is me.  I’d like your vote so I can go to Lansing and show you I mean what I say.

Dr. Robert Townsend, President Denali Healthcare, Clare, MI

5 thoughts on “About Dr. Robert Townsend

  • I may not live in your District but am notifying all of my friends and associates in that district. I know you will be great!

  • Refreshing…. A “people”, wanting to be a servant FOR the People……. You’ve got my vote to make it BY the people.

  • I have heard so many promises about candidates wanting to do what is best for the people…you vote for them and it never happens. I am going to vote one more time for someone who says they are for the people and I hope you are honest about this. It won’t be easy for you and you will really have to fight. Our country is in need of people who are for the people.

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