Chiropractors Flex Political Muscle in California

Once again, California chiropractors seize the initiative by flexing their political muscle and making their presence felt in the Golden State.

Chiropractor Candidate Defeats MD

The political action committee of the California Chiropractic Association (CCA), the most effective chiropractic association in the United States, spent $50,000 on a significant Republican primary race for an Assembly seat in Orange County. Whoever won the Republican primary would virtually own the seat for a lifetime due to heavy Republican registration. California chiropractors had endured years of disinterest and non-cooperation from the leadership of the California Assembly Republicans. Taking the initiative in this winner-take-all race, the CCA went head-to-head against the wealthy California Medical Association (CMA). The CMA ran its own candidate for that Assembly seat with Dr. Sy Albin, M.D., against chiropractic patient, Mayor Tom Mays. This was a major test of wills to see whether chiropractors or medical doctors would prevail in this important primary that would determine the leadership for the Assembly Republicans in Sacramento. The CCA did more than raise a significant amount of money for an assembly race. Chiropractic students from local chiropractic colleges blanketed precincts. The precinct operation, headed by Rusell Smith, D.C., former president of CCA, significantly increased candidate Tom Mays’ visibility in this closely fought election. Mays emerged a narrow winner by four points. The Medical Association leaders were furious with this loss against the strength of chiropractic money, chiropractic foot soldiers, and many chiropractic offices campaigning hard for Tom Mays within the district.

Chiropractic Candidates Win

The leadership behind the CCA also involved itself in several other primary election races. In five races out of six, the CCA scored victories and earned friends in Sacramento for years to come. Finally, the log-jam between the Assembly Republicans and the CCA has been broken. Years ago the CCA developed a strong alliance with Willy Brown, the powerful speaker of the Assembly, as well as an important Democratic leader in California. For years, it has been the Democrats carrying the water for chiropractic legislation on vital issues concerning exclusion of chiropractic in health maintenance organizations, equality of insurance benefits for chiropractors, and scope of practice issues.

Earlier this year, a special election was held for a state Senate seat in a Republican stronghold and the CCA came in early to support Assemblyman Frank Hill in a very expensive and tough race. The state Senate Republicans were very grateful for CCA’s help which promises to show greater bipartisan support of chiropractic issues in the state legislature.

Insurance Commissioner

In the Democratic primary, the CCA took major steps to support candidate, Bill Press for insurance commissioner. The insurance commissioner post is a newly designated, publicly elected office. Unfortunately, five out of the six major candidates running for insurance commissioner were pro-consumer candidates. Naturally, the only non-consumer candidate, wealthy State Senator John Garamandi, narrowly won the election. The pro-consumer candidates collected 65 percent of the vote, but lost to Senator Garamandi. The important fact is, the chiropractic community in California, according to Bill Press, raised well over a $100,000 for his election in about 60 days. Senator Garamandi was deeply impressed with the commitment of the chiropractic community and asked to be invited to the state convention just seven days following the election, where he made his first major post-election speech. Senator Garamandi, the strongly favored candidate to be elected this fall as insurance commissioner met privately with the chiropractic leadership. He offered to include chiropractors on a health care advisory board and he offered chiropractic leadership access on issues important to health care providers. Senator Garamandi, who may have greater ambitions for higher office, clearly understands and respects the chiropractic potential and is starting off on the right foot toward a closer relationship with chiropractic.

Attorney General Race

Finally, in the hard-fought election for attorney general, pro-chiropractic candidate, Arlo Smith, district attorney of San Francisco, narrowly defeated Los Angeles District Attorney Ira Reiner.

In the pages of the March 29, 1990 issue of Dynamic Chiropractic, it was published that Arlo Smith is
conducting an investigation against the notorious and outrageous antichiropractic practices of AAA (Northern California). Arlo Smith’s office has shown great integrity in challenging the management of Northern California AAA and its deceptive and fraudulent practice of denying med-pay benefits to chiropractic patients. Arlo Smith has a significant chance for becoming attorney general of California and chiropractic may look forward to having a friend in the office of the attorney general who will defend consumers’ rights to receive chiropractic benefits.


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