Richard Carmona : biography
Richard Henry Carmona (born November 22, 1949) is an American physician, police officer, public health administrator, and politician. He was a vice admiral in the Public Health Service Commissioned Corps and served as the seventeenth Surgeon General of the United States. Appointed by President George W. Bush in 2002, Carmona left office at the end of July 2006 upon the expiration of his term. After leaving office, Carmona was highly critical of the Bush administration for suppressing scientific findings which conflicted with the Administration's ideological agenda.
In August 2006, Carmona returned home to Tucson, Arizona. In November 2011, he announced he would seek the Democratic Party's nomination for United States Senate in the hopes of succeeding outgoing Republican Senator Jon Kyl, despite being registered as a political Independent. He lost to Republican challenger Senator Jeff Flake.
Post-Surgeon General career
Carmona is currently vice chairman of the Canyon Ranch resort and spa company, president of the non-profit Canyon Ranch Institute, and a professor at the Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health at the University of Arizona. On June 16, 2010, Ross University School of Medicine named Carmona to its Board of Trustees.
In 2006, Republicans attempted to recruit Carmona to run for Congress in Arizona's 8th congressional district, but he declined.
Criticism of Bush administration
On July 10, 2007, Carmona, along with former Surgeons General C. Everett Koop and David Satcher, testified before the United States House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform about political and ideological interference with the Surgeon General's mission. Carmona accused the Bush Administration of preventing him from speaking out on certain public health issues such as embryonic stem cell research, global climate change, emergency contraception, and abstinence-only sex education, where the Administration's political stance conflicted with scientific and medical opinion.
Carmona also testified that the Bush Administration had attempted for years to "water down" his report on the dangers of secondhand smoke and pressured him not to testify in the tobacco industry's racketeering trial: "Anything that doesn't fit into the political appointees' ideological, theological or political agenda is ignored, marginalized or simply buried." According to Carmona, he was even ordered not to attend the Special Olympics because the event was sponsored by the Kennedy family, and was told to mention President Bush three times on every page of his speeches. The Washington Post subsequently identified William R. Steiger as the Bush Administration official who had blocked release of Carmona's report on global health because it conflicted with the Administration's political priorities., Christopher Lee and Marc Kaufman, The Washington Post, July 29, 2007.
Reuters reported that Carmona's predecessors as Surgeon General had acknowledged the high level of political interference he experienced, saying: "We have never seen it as partisan, as malicious, as vindictive, as mean-spirited as it is today, and you clearly have worse than anyone's had."
Law enforcement career
He worked for the Pima County Sheriff's Department since 1986. He eventually worked his way up to deputy sheriff. He served as medical director of the county's police and fire departments. He was a peace officer leader of the SWAT division, with expertise in special operations and emergency preparedness, including weapons of mass destruction.
In 1999, he confronted a mentally-ill person who was assaulting someone else at a car accident. After the person would not step out of his car, he shot at Carmona, grazing his head, and the Deputy Sheriff shot back seven times, killing him. The deceased was an ex-convict who had shot and killed his own father that day. In 2000, Carmona was honored at the National Association of Police Organizations TOP COPS award ceremony.
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