The reasons I have chosen to run for the 3rd Congressional District of Tennessee are many.
I grew up in a poor family that regularly had to depend upon government resources in order for us to survive. By the time I was in sixth grade I had attended six different elementary schools because the cold harsh reality was that my family was evicted from house after house because we simply couldn’t afford paying rent. From a very early age I witnessed and recognized the desperation my parents must have felt as they tried to provide for their family in the best way they knew how.
As a child I also experienced first-hand the devastation and hopelessness that one experiences when they don’t have medical insurance. My family and I suffered the heartbreak of losing one of our own when one of my younger brothers tragically died one week before his thirteenth birthday. He had been diagnosed with epilepsy and obtaining access to medical care as well as purchasing life-saving medicines was a constant financial barrier for my family. I often wonder that if we had universal healthcare if my brother might still be here with us today. The instability of family hardships left a very large impression on my heart and tore a gaping hole in it that no child or adult should ever have to face.
I knew that in order to break the cycle of poverty I had to obtain an education. I not only accomplished being the first of my immediate family to attend college and put myself through school but I also succeeded in becoming a physician.
During my early career as a doctor I also overcame the diagnosis of morbid obesity. Over a year and a half into my journey through proper nutrition and exercise I had lost nearly 100 pounds and almost one decade later I can say with great pride that I have completed seven full distance IronMan® triathlons. My experiences have engendered within me a genuine sense for how to inspire and how to take care of people.
I decided I wanted to do better for others. With my own two hands I not only helped build my healthcare clinic, but almost four years later my staff and I take care of over 1,300 people in Chattanooga, Tennessee. As a small business owner I understand the struggles first hand of what it is like to build something from nothing, serve the needs of our community and keep the business successfully functional in the face of many struggles.
Two years ago my life was once again forever changed. I was diagnosed with a very rare vascular disease. At 38 years old I was facing the threat of complete amputation of my entire right leg and thigh if I did not undergo surgical intervention. The doctor had become the patient. I had to undergo a complete vascular bypass of my entire right leg. The disease has brought new perspective into my life and a host of new fears. What happens if I lose my insurance? What happens if insurance companies start penalizing me because I have a pre-existing condition? What happens if I become uninsurable or can’t get enough insurance to cover my outrageous medical bills or costly medicines that I may incur in order for me to take care of myself? After devoting my entire adult life serving as a physician taking care of the needs of others will I be turned away?
I have spent my adult life listening to, problem solving and caring for others. Practicing medicine in today’s world requires not only the book knowledge but also knowing how to help people navigate a system burdened by unethical high cost that is driven by corruption.
The complex labyrinth that is our healthcare system is much akin to what is wrong with our current government. Both are rife with serving private interest groups and the politicians that are bought off by them. It is my firm belief that a sense of ethics, and a focus on caring for people applies not only in medicine, but should be the foundation of our government.
IT’S TIME TO GET RID OF THE CORRUPTION.
Representing people is more than just showing up for photo ops and attending expensive dinners. Representing people means you LISTEN to their concerns, you FIND SOLUTIONS and you GET. STUFF. DONE.
Elected officials should be there to PROTECT you and our community.
It’s time to elect government officials who are TRAINED to CARE for you.
Danielle Mitchell, MD.
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