Alexander Opposes Obama Nominee for Surgeon General

Says Vivek Murthy lacks public health and management experience

Posted on December 13, 2014

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“The surgeon general is known as ‘the nation’s doctor.’ He leads a professional corps of 6,800 commissioned public-health officers. …Unfortunately, Dr. Murthy’s experience does not demonstrate the leadership and knowledge of public health that we expect from our surgeons general.”  –Lamar Alexander

WASHINGTON, D.C., Dec. 13 –U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) today said he opposes President Obama’s nominee for surgeon general, Dr. Vivek Murthy, citing the nominee’s lack of public health and management experience as well as his advocacy for gun control legislation that would infringe on Americans’ Second Amendment rights.

“The surgeon general is known as ‘the nation’s doctor.’ He leads a professional corps of 6,800 commissioned public-health officers—including 75 corps members currently deployed to Liberia to provide critical medical care for healthcare workers infected with Ebola,” said Alexander, the top Republican on the Senate health committee. “Unfortunately, Dr. Murthy’s experience does not demonstrate the leadership and knowledge of public health that we expect from our surgeons general.”

In a committee hearing in February, Alexander pressed Murthy on whether he would use the position to advance his ideological goals, saying, “My concern is much of your credential, it seems to me, is a political credential. Much of your work has been devoted to electing the current president and advocating the new health care law … I’d be reluctant to put into the surgeon general’s office someone who would use that as a bully pulpit to promote a law I think is an historic mistake.”

At that hearing, the senator also noted that Murthy is an advocate of gun control, once saying on the social media website Twitter that he was “tired of politicians…[who are] scared of the NRA.”

“I would hope you know that Americans have a First Amendment right to advocate the Second Amendment or any other amendment, and the Second Amendment is not a special interest group—it’s part of our Constitution,” Alexander told Murthy at the Feb. 4 hearing.

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