PROFILE: U.S. Senate Candidate Annette Bosworth Wants to Stop Dependency on Federal Government
The 41-year-old and her family literally lived “in a van down by river,” per the old Saturday Night Live skit. Only it wasn’t funny like the SNL bit. Her husband and three children—ages 3, 6 and 9–lived in a 1993 RV on 12th Street in Sioux Falls for six months late last year and early this year.
She’s an independent doctor in a town with two large health care systems who’s done battle with the state’s medical establishment—which explains, in part, “living in a van down by the river.” They and the state and federal governments almost destroyed her, she says.
First it was an investigation into Medicaid billing when she worked at a youth shelter, then questions about oversight of a physician’s assistant, then being reprimanded by the state medical board over an opinion piece she wrote criticizing the board for its treatment of a young doctor with multiple sclerosis who was trying to get is medical license in the state.
But no complaints to the medical board from patients. The “word on the street” is that Bosworth’s patients love her and her practice—Meaningful Medicine, in a small office building just over the Lincoln County line on south Minnesota Avenue.
“There’s the whole tapestry of how do you become the voice and have the passion to stand strong enough when big government tries to run a social program (Medicaid) without being connected to the people,” Bosworth said.
After finally moving out of the RV, then came one of the late Gov. Bill Janklow’s friends who was familiar with her situation who told her, she says, “Get out of the cheap seats. What you’re doing is what we need in this country. There’s an open Senate seat.”
As a “change agent” and a person who “moves the needle,” what better way to change the system than running for the U.S. Senate, Bosworth notes.
And the former farm girl from Plankinton who told her medical school interview panel that being a doctor would be a better gig than doing hog chores, sees her campaign opponents in terms of a Gen-Xer versus the Baby Boomers, not a women versus men or even conservative Republicans versus even more conservative Republicans.
Gen-Xers are not into labels or waiting their turn to move up, according to Bosworth. Gen-Xers, she says, believe the best person should get the job, not the person who has been on the job the longest.
Appealing to that group and using social media like Facebook and Twitter, Bosworth says, is how she will get her message out to Gen-Xers, in the meantime, the three Baby Boomer candidates—former Gov. Mike Rounds, state Rep. Stace Nelson, and state Sen. Larry Rhoden—can divide the Boomer vote amongst themselves.
People are looking for a different kind politician, Bosworth says, not the usual pedigree of having held political office and raising oodles of campaign cash from special interests.
“Americans have never been this disgruntled with the establishment,” Bosworth notes during the Oct. 17, 2013 interview, on the afternoon before Congress voted to end the 17 day partial shutdown of the federal government. “It is good to be skilled at one fifth of the economy. It is an advantage, absolutely, to be a non-politician,” she observes about her chances to emerge from the Republican primary next June.
As to “transparency,” she notes that when someone has taken a photo of your child using an outhouse because they are “living in a van done by the river”—then posted it on Facebook–one’s life is open for everyone to see, like it or not. Her “closets” are open.
And few candidates begin a sit down interview with a reporter with nearly a 20 minute description of all the “issues” she knows her opponents will likely use against her, putting it all-out in an articulate narrative filled with a touches of anger, humor and determination.
Bosworth is running for the U.S. Senate because of the harm big government and its cronies at any level can do to a person they find meddlesome. She knows firsthand, since she and her family “lived in van down by the river,” largely, she says, because of big government.
She says Janklow, the late governor, who helped her on the Medicaid issue, liked her and saw something of him in her—the underdog.
Bosworth tells of a time of one of many heated conversations with Gov. Janklow. She says he exploded, “’You know what you remind me of? You have too much Bill Janklow in a girl’s body!’ I thought he was going to have a seizure,” Bosworth laughs.
“The establishment is not what the people want,” Bosworth says. “And I think courage is attractive.”
Whether Bosworth’s courage and Gen-Xer “differentness” can overcome Rounds’ nine million dollar campaign war chest and two other veteran politicians’ electoral experience—will be a question Republican voters will answer June 3, 2014.
Meanwhile, Boswell is out of the “van down by the river,” looking to change a system that exiled her for doing what she thought was right.