Matt Longjohn says he never thought about seeking political office until 2017. He says being asked to stay quiet on an issue of public health policy started the process that led to his campaign for Congress.
Longjohn, a physician from Portage also served as National Health Officer for the YMCA says he was speaking at the National Academy of Medicine. Longjohn says that D.C. charities and other groups were worried after President Trump said that physical activity isn’t good for you. Longjohn says when he was asked not to say that physical activity has benefits for your health, he called the Democratic Party. Longjohn is now one of six candidates running for the Democratic nomination in Southwest Michigan’s 6th Congressional district. The winner of the Democratic primary will face Republican Representative Fred Upton in the fall.
Longjohn says prevention should be the focus of health care policy in the United States. He says health should be part of policies such transportation, infrastructure and taxes, in order to bend the cost curve on health care. Guns Policy on guns is another issue Longjohn says should be viewed through the lens of health care. He says gun violence is a public health problem. Longjohn says data should be used to figure out priorities. For instance he says most gun deaths in the 6th district are from suicide in rural areas. Longjohn says that shows the need for access to mental health services. He says red flag legislation, background checks and other changes are needed to address mass shootings.
President Trump’s action and rhetoric on trade are not likely to help the 6th Congressional district, according to Longjohn. But he says human rights should be part of trade agreements to limit a race to the bottom of the wage scale. Longjohn says trade deals should be renegotiated to put people first.
Longjohn says the nation’s tax policy should put individuals in front of corporations. He says there has been a focus of “trickle down” economics. Longjohn says money in politics helps drive policy in that direction.
Overturning the Citizens United Supreme Court decision would require a new ruling from the Supreme Court or a Constitutional amendment, and Longjohn says he supports amending the Constitution - if all else fails. But he says campaign finance should be made transparent. Longjohn says he is not taking corporate money from Political Action Committees. Longjohn’s campaign has raised over the most money of any of the six Democrats running, a little more than former Kellogg executive George Franklin in the most recent reports. Longjohn says he’s proud of the financial support his campaign has received from across the country. Longjohn says his campaign has received support from people who know of his work done on health care issues, and are also aware of Upton’s vote for the Republican health care bill.
Other discussion can be heard in the extended web version of the interview.
More on Health Care
Longjohn says everyone should have access to high quality health care. He says the government needs to guarantee essential health care, but he says an insurance market will still be needed. Longjohn says he doesn’t see a single payer system for everything.
Most of the money raised by Longjohn’s campaign has come from outside the state. But he says it’s come from friends and colleagues and leaders of organizations who know his work on health care. Longjohn says if he couldn’t raise money from people he’s worked with, then people in this district shouldn’t support him.
Longjohn says results in Presidential elections show that the 6th district is competitive. While Republican Representative Fred Upton has been firmly implanted the whole time, Longjohn says the Republican advantage can be overcome if Democrats have a good year. Longjohn says his record on health care and other key issues offers the sharpest possible contrast against Fred of anyone other Democrat in the field.