GOP Senate candidate Wehby: 'Scrap' federal health care law

PORTLAND, Ore. - Dr. Monica Wehby has mastered brain surgery, and now she wants to take on something perhaps far more mysterious and complicated - American politics.

Wehby, a pediatric neurosurgeon at Randall's Children Hospital, is among at least four other Republicans fighting for that party's nomination for U.S. senator during this May's primary. The winner will presumably take on Oregon's incumbent Democrat Sen. Jeff Merkley in the November General Election.

Wehby told KATU's Steve Dunn during Sunday's "Your Voice, Your Vote" that she believes she can make a difference in getting the country she sees as having gotten off track back on it.

"Doctors kind of look at things in a different way: We're logical people, not ideological people," she said. "I think that's a lot of the problem that's going on now - people aren't able to work together (to) find common ground."

And being a doctor and running for political office, she no doubt has a take on The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, also known as "Obamacare," an issue that's already becoming a major political hot potato during this election cycle.

"I think there is so many problems with it, Steve, that we really do need to just scrap it and start over," she said, adding that her plan is to have a "health savings account that you can put away with pre-tax dollars."

She said almost all the small business owners she's spoken to tell her the No. 1 thing that's keeping them from expanding their business is the new health care law.

"All of this uncertainty, and nobody knows whether to hunker down and just wait or to try to grow their business. It's hard to take a risk when there's all this uncertainty out there."

While personal freedom, a value touted by Republicans, is at the core of Wehby's campaign, her version of it may turn some Republicans away from supporting her. Wehby, who was raised a Catholic in Nashville, Tenn., chose her words carefully in her support of allowing women to choose abortions or same-sex couples to marry.

"I'm prolife, but I don't believe that the government should be telling people personal beliefs," she said about abortion. "I think that this is a decision between a woman and her family, a woman and her doctor, and a woman and her faith, and not a woman and the federal government."

She took a similar stance on gay marriage.

"I don't believe the government should be, (the) federal government should be, involved in the marriage business. This is a state issue ... our country was founded on personal freedom and the right to be who you are. The government shouldn't be telling you who you love, who you live with, who you care about ...," she said.

To watch the full interview, click on the "Play Video" button above. In the second segment of the show, Dunn is joined by two (Salem) Statesmen Journal reporters, Hannah Hoffman and Anna Staver, to discuss their political podcasts and their take on Oregon's 2014 month-long legislative session.