by Anthony Robbins, MD, MPA
When Bernie Sanders announced his candidacy for the Democratic nomination for President, I cheered. For the first time in my life, we would know what a candidate for President really believed and what she or he would do. For me, I am doubly pleased, as I agree with Bernie’s ideas.
Bernie began his political career in Vermont in the 1970s just as I was beginning my government career in Vermont. By the time he was elected to the House of Representatives in 1990, I had worked in Washington for both the executive branch (National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and the Congress (House Energy and Commerce Committee). Thus I talked with Bernie and his staff about how he might be effective in the House as a sole Independent. Bernie knew what he wanted to accomplish–Medicare-for-all, for example–but knew little about how the House worked or how to serve his constituents. Cong. Dave Obey (D-WI), who had been a great protector for NIOSH, and his staff, at my urging, volunteered to help.
Until last week, I had been very unhappy with Hillary Clinton as the Democratic candidate, not because she would be any worse than most Democrats. She has often said the right things, about children, for example. But she had also said things that should be absolutely unthinkable: in 2008, for example, she was prepared to “nuke Iran.”
With Bernie there is no question where he stands and what he would do. The New York Times’ Gerry Mullany summarized his positions in the April 30 article “Bernie Sanders on the Issues.” by Gerry Mullany, April 30, 2015.
I also took down from the shelf my autographed copy of Bernie’s 2010 The Speech: a historic filibuster on corporate greed and the decline of our middle class to confirm that Bernie’s rhetoric is as good as the many one-on-one discussions we have had over the years.
The Speech is well worth reading.
Anthony Robbins, MD, MPA is co-Editor of the Journal of Public Health Policy. (Facebook pagehere.) He directed the Vermont Department of Health, the Colorado Department of Health, the U.S. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, and the U.S. National Vaccine Program.