Written by Staff Writer Katie Abrahamson-Henderson, CNN
Dr. Mehmet Oz has announced his bid for a seat in the US Senate in Pennsylvania, an open seat in a state where he is the most popular physician in the state.
He made the announcement during his show Thursday night, revealing that he has “too much love for the Commonwealth and its people to sit on the sidelines.”
Dr. Oz made the announcement during an episode of his TV program Thursday. Credit: Deborah Suchetka/Harpo Studios
Oz’s announcement came on the heels of a New York Times report that some patients of his firm, Columbia University’s infectious disease division, were dissatisfied with the care they received following an anonymous complaint that they had been coerced into giving clinical research subjects permission to talk to the doctor.
The alleged coercion occurred before Dr. Oz went on national television in 2004 to be the first US doctor to broadcast the ad campaign “Live Better, Sleep Better.” He has discussed everything from cigarettes to colon cleansing with viewers during his 2-hour television program.
Oz, who founded the gastroenterology practice and joined the university’s Department of Gastroenterology as an assistant professor in 2003, would not directly address the allegations in his Thursday announcement, instead choosing to focus on his message of providing necessary information to prevent preventative measures.
“I feel that there are not enough ideas in Washington,” he said. “The senators are not busy on weekends with addiction, with mental health, with their constituents. We need more ideas in Washington.”
Oz has said he is running to help “save our democracy,” and proposed streamlining some of the regulations that he believes aren’t working well.
He said he would also emphasize the importance of maintaining open communication and offering vulnerable communities support when they’re in distress.
“My message is a positive one,” he added. “I have a record of positive things, with a proven track record for patients, for health care costs, and for economic growth.”
Pennsylvania currently has two Republican senators, Pat Toomey and Republican Lou Barletta, who have both won re-election in previous attempts. Two Democrats are in the running for the seat: former US Representative Joe Sestak and former state Treasurer Katie McGinty.