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East County Wednesday, Dec. 30, 2009 10 years ago

10 to Contend: Dr. Bob McCann

by: Pam Eubanks Senior Editor

Dr. Bob McCann’s take on the government is simple: less government coupled with more personal responsibility equals more progress.

“We need to get the government out of the way so we can fix the problems we have here,” says McCann, running for the District 67 state representative seat. “We need a Legislature that has life experience, a little more gray hair.

“The government should be run by the people,” he says. “I want to be their voice.”

Dual expertise
At 52 years old, McCann brings a unique perspective to the frontlines of the political arena.

He joined the U.S. Navy just out of high school, serving as a medic in the military until 1979. He then used the GI bill to attend college, earning an undergraduate degree in biology before heading to medical school at the Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine in Missouri.

And although he loved the practice of medicine, medical school did not prepare him for the business aspect of the industry, he says. To remedy the situation, McCann earned his juris doctoral degree with honors from the Florida coastal School of Law in Jacksonville in 1999 while working as a physician in underserved health service areas.

McCann could have picked either occupation but instead melded the practices together through his company, McCann Medicine & Law, P.A., where he provides medical care and legal services. McCann defends doctors in employment law cases and has done some corporate work as well. He also works as an emergency medical physician at Town & Country Hospital in Tampa for a group called HP Partners.

“It’s dynamic,” McCann says. “You get to help people.”

And McCann says he wants to take that same mentality to the state Legislature should he be elected to fill the District 67 seat vacated by Ron Reagan.

Through his involvement in politics over the years — such as his current appointment to the Florida Board of Osteopathic Medicine by former Gov. Jeb Bush — McCann says he understands that each vote he would make as a legislator would affect not only his constituents but also every person statewide.

To make more informed decisions, the River Club resident says he would meet quarterly with local experts and business professionals to help him make informed decisions about how his vote would affect the community in reality. In fact, he’s already working to develop a panel, he says.

Although the issues may change over the coming year, McCann’s attention currently is focused on issues such as crime, health care and the economy.

McCann leans back, noting Manatee County has become the murder capital of Florida.

“We need to have more communication between law agencies and (proper funding sources) so we can take on these issues (better),” McCann says.

He adds he’s an advocate of the right to bear arms but believes a stricter policy on gun usage would make a difference in crime statistics.

On health care, McCann’s perspective is multi-faceted. He does not believe a universal health care system is the best option for constituents and is adamant moving to that system would ultimately be more costly for constituents.

He does, however, admit the health care system as a whole is in need of major reform — with about four million people in Florida alone without health insurance. He says costs could be shaved significantly through tort reform, which would help reduce the impact frivolous lawsuits have on physicians, and more simple solutions such as putting a stronger emphasis on preventative health care.

“We need to be able to make coverage more affordable and accessible,” McCann says. “I do believe in personal responsibility and people working on preventative health care, too. If people work on (having) healthy lifestyles, we would be able to drop the costs of health care.”

McCann also says the University of South Florida has branches locally and in Tampa but should get its own hospital. Doing so would allow medical students to do their residencies there and help keep physicians in the area.

McCann also says Florida would benefit from an expansion in technology — namely by beginning offshore drilling and exploration of all forms of renewable energy. Floridians, he says, also should reduce energy usage, associated utility costs and their overall environmental impact as much as possible.

Tax talk
Keeping the tax base low would also benefit Floridians.

“The government can never tax itself into prosperity,” McCann says. “We can restart our economy by encouraging policies that diversify our economy, promote entrepreneurship and reinvest in our state. We must keep taxes low and reduce burdensome regulations.”

McCann adds that small businesses should not be regulated or taxed to the point they cannot employ people.

“For the economy to truly thrive, citizens must be allowed to keep the money they earn and use it as they see fit,” he says.

The government, he says, should focus on its mission to provide quality schools, public safety and protecting children and seniors in need.

“Government must be accountable for every dollar it collects and for every dollar it spends,” McCann says. “Floridians are creative and industrious, and we must embrace market-based solutions for the issues facing our state instead of always looking to the government to do everything. Individual responsibility is key.”

Contact Pam Eubanks at [email protected].

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