Why the ObamaCare Repeal Didn’t Happen

Mick, Audrey, and Jim Rich at Audrey’s White Coat Ceremony at UNM Medical School.

Congress has adjourned for its traditional August recess after Senate Republicans failed to repeal, revise, or replace the Affordable Care Act (a.k.a. ObamaCare). As a Republican candidate for U.S. Senate, this news grieved me.

But it did not surprise me. Why not?

Because I am a realist, and it would be unrealistic to expect members of the current Congress to vote for the interests of their country and its hard-working taxpayers above their own careers.

The vast majority of U.S. Senators and Congressmen are career politicians who put political calculation – doing whatever it takes to remain in power – above the demands of leading our nation.

Career politicians contradict my view of public service, which is why I’ve pledged to serve no more than two terms in the U.S. Senate. To quote Tom Ridge, the first Secretary of Homeland Security and former Governor of Pennsylvania: “You run to win. But, you win to govern; not to win again next time.”

I believe career politicians also contradict the role of public servants as envisioned by our Founding Fathers, who themselves were businessmen, farmers, soldiers. They required newly elected members of Congress to swear an oath of office. This oath pledges them to support and defend the Constitution – the muscle and bones of our Republic.

So when Senators refuse to repeal or enact a law because they fear it will lead to defeat in their next re-election campaign, they are breaking their oath of office by putting career above country.

A week ago, I attended a different swearing in ceremony – one of great importance to me. It was the White Coat Ceremony for my eldest daughter, Audrey, at UNM Medical School.

A White Coat Ceremony is when medical students pledge their oath to treat and care for their patients and members of their community.

As I stood with my family witnessing Audrey’s next big step into her profession, I thought, “If only members of Congress took their oath of office as seriously as doctors do.”

Could you imagine going to a doctor with the same track record as Congress? You’d better hope you stay in good health.

In construction, we take no oath of office. But we take very seriously our work to construct buildings, because as with medicine, if we fail in our jobs, people could die.

A Congress full of negligent career politicians probably won’t cause the death of our Republic. But it very well may lead to a prolonged decline in our national well-being.

Fortunately, replacing a career politician is fairly easy: you vote him out. Martin Heinrich, whom I intend to replace in the U.S. Senate, is one of the career politicians who created the problem of ObamaCare. He will continue to vote for his own career in the Democratic Party above the needs of the people of New Mexico.

To date, Martin Heinrich has voted with Democratic Party leaders Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer 94 percent of the time. This cannot possibly represent the best interests of New Mexico.

Here’s my oath to you: If you elect me as your Senator, I will uphold my pledge to the Constitution. I will work hard to do what’s best for America and New Mexico. And I will never become a career politician. After two terms in the U.S. Senate, I will come home and hang up my Hard Hat for good.