Todd Tyson makes bid for office
DACULA, Ga. – The first time that provider Todd Tyson considered running for public office he talked himself out of it because of family obligations.
In September, an off-the-cuff remark to a state lawmaker led Tyson to throw his hat in the ring for a special election for the Georgia House of Representatives. He had just endured a fruitless round of meetings about a major insurer’s plans to reduce reimbursement by 40%.
“When we got ready to leave, I said, ‘You can endorse me when I run for State Rep. Donna Sheldon’s seat,’” said Tyson, founder of Hi-Tech Healthcare. “Afterward, sitting at lunch with colleagues, one of them said, ‘If you are serious, I will contribute to the campaign.’”
Tyson took the weekend to think it over and decided he was in. The special election is slated for Nov. 5, with a likely run-off election in December.
In a matter of weeks, the Republican hopeful raised more than double what his opponent has raised, including contributions from providers not located in his district.
“People have stood up and taken it seriously,” said Tyson. “People are going to continue to run over us unless we are down there under the gold dome.”
Tyson travels to Washington, D.C., at least twice a year to lobby on industry issues and he says that experience has given him the confidence to run. He’s already reached out to state medical and pharmacy associations seeking their support, as well as to the chairwoman of Georgia’s health committee seeking a seat if he wins. He has also secured the support of fellow Georgian, Rep. Tom Price, R-Ga., who has introduced a bill to replace competitive bidding with a market pricing program.
Tyson is running on a platform that includes the creation of jobs, reduction of government spending, and removal of regulatory burdens on businesses. He said his experience with healthcare issues gives him an upper hand.
“Healthcare spending is reaching 20% of the gross domestic product,” he said. “It doesn’t matter which side of the fence you’re on. No business, no industry, no country can continue at that pace.”