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Surgeon general nominee Murthy is a cut above [Letter]

Thank you for your editorial describing Dr. Vivek Murthy's qualifications to serve as our nation's next surgeon general. Moreover, thank you for chastising the National Rifle Association's irrational, unfounded attacks on Dr. Murthy ("Another NRA victim," March 20).

Let me offer a few facts and my firsthand observations of Dr. Murthy's skills and abilities. As your editorial notes, he truly is accomplished in several key aspects of delivering health care directly to patients, teaching medical students, conducting research and setting up innovative private sector information systems for doctors. He continues to advocate for improved community health care, especially for those vulnerable populations that have the least access to quality health care.

I have stood side-by-side with Dr. Murthy as he's spoken to church groups in South Carolina and North Carolina, led clinical training with medical students in Florida and North Carolina and spoken with compassion to community leaders and health care providers in Georgia. Not once in all those events did I hear him say the words "gun control." As your editorial notes, at Dr. Murthy's confirmation hearing before the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, his answers to questions from Republican Sens. Pat Roberts of Kansas and Lamar Alexander of Tennessee clearly and unequivocally stated that he would not use the office as a bully pulpit for gun control.

He did state that his priorities would be on reducing childhood obesity, mental health, smoking and advancing health care access to unserved and underserved communities.

It is a blatant outrage that the NRA has attacked Dr. Murthy for his views that are not relevant to his appointment. At his Senate hearing, he directly stated that he supported Second Amendment rights. Senators of both parties should demonstrate the courage to confirm Dr. Murthy, allowing his genuine abilities and competency to outweigh the emotional falsehoods and smears against this most capable physician and public servant.

Don Mathis, Havre de Grace

The writer is president and CEO of Community Action Partnership.

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To respond to this letter, send an email to talkback@baltimoresun.com. Please include your name and contact information.

Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun
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