Who is Robert Townsend?
After much consideration I’ve decided to seek election as your Representative for the 97th District. Many of you know me from my medical practice, others have never heard of me. Most of you, even those that have met me, don’t know much about my background or what I stand for politically- You just know me as a passionate and caring physician that treated you with respect and helped you. I’m asking you to send me to Lansing, so I think you should have a chance to know Dr. Robert Townsend, see what I stand for and what I believe in.
I grew up in Gobles, Michigan. A small town of about 2000 near Kalamazoo. I graduated from Gobles High School. Most of my early childhood I was raised by my mother and grandmother. Both were strong women, and very self reliant. I was also blessed with an educated father and two stepfathers (the first died and mom remarried). My father and stepfathers were role models and taught me the lessons of life from three perspectives. Growing up I was active in sports, hunted, fished, and ran a lawn service that seemed to mow half the lawns in Gobles. In the winter I shoved snow from driveways and roofs.
After high school I attended Kalamazoo College for 2 years, majoring in Biology. I ran out of money and expanded on the EMT training I took my first year to run rescue in Kalamazoo, Hastings and Lansing. I worked my way up to full Paramedic. I also joined the army reserve as a combat medic. I returned to MSU in 1985 and participated in Army ROTC, earning a commission in the medical service corps upon graduation. It was at MSU I met a wonderful nursing student, Lori Haring. 30 years later she is my wife and we have a wonderful family here in Clare.
Starting in college, Lori and I would come to Clare for family get togethers and, of course, deer season. We moved here full time in 2010. Our children attend Clare Schools, and I have clinics and patients throughout the area. Lori is a Haring and a Cameron, both very large families in Clare and Gladwin Co.
Dr. Robert Townsend
After graduating MSU, I attended Medical School in Florida. I completed my residency in Internal Medicine and went into practice in SC. We returned to Michigan in 2005 and I continued my practice in Internal Medicine and Urgent Care, going to Alaska for 2 years to work with the VA. I founded Denali Healthcare and have been working with pain and addiction patients since 2010. This is a passion for me, because chronic pain patients are very underserved in N. Michigan. Denali expanded to 10 offices from Kalamazoo to Saginaw to Marquette.
Why Run for the House?
I’m actually pretty happy with my life and family. Why take on the House of Representatives? Basically because as a doctor, I can work to improve the quality of life for my patients. As a Representative, I can help the people not only of my District, but of the entire state.
As a working physician, I’ve seen many of the problems facing patients, the frustrations of insurance, and the lack of understanding of pain management by physicians, law enforcement, and insurance companies. It seems, at times, that the priorities of our profession and the authorities seem to be driven by limiting care, forcing choices between therapies that are helping, and judging patients by their illnesses. We can do better.
I am not a politician. I am a working physician. I have real life experiences building a small business. I’ve been falsely accused of a crime and faced down a prosecutor to win my case. I’ve been an expert witness, and a litigant in civil court. I’ve worked with lawyers and heard their frustrations about the lack of funding for trials resulting in some 90% plus of criminal cases going to plea because there were no funds to have their day in court. I’ve been to family court, and yes, even spent some time in county for being poor. I’ve made life and death decisions nearly every day of my adult life dealing with patients. I’ve been turned down for loans and lost homes and businesses, as many of you have. There was a time I even was on a Bridge Card for 3 months.
These are life experiences I can bring to the House. My concentration is not going to be on getting elected next, but what I want to accomplish as long as you want to keep me in Lansing. Then I plan on going home. Being a doctor and helping people is what defines me, not politics.
How I will vote-
I am running as a Democrat. But I will vote for good ideas, not party politics. I am strongly opposed to the constant block voting we see- if the Democrats vote for it, the Republicans vote against it. If the Republicans vote for it, the Democrats oppose. This is not how things are accomplished. I prefer to work with people to get good legislation passed. That is how we got the Bonafide Dr/Pt Relationship Bill passed, by a Republican and a Democrat sponsoring the bill. I worked on that bill, and saw what could be done with cooperation.
Most of my personal politics are moderate, and realistic. I understand the concept of living to a budget, of building a business from scratch, I understand responsibility (if elected I will try to make EVERY vote), and I will do my best to identify problems and come up with reasonable solutions. I will represent my District and YOU with passion and answer my emails from you. Your problems will become my causes.
I will bring real life experience to the State House, and they will know I was there. But first, you have to send me.