MONTPELIER — Dr. Louis Meyers believes a political outsider can offer a fresh perspective to state government.
The 60-year-old Williston resident and internist at Rutland Regional Medical Center is the fourth candidate to throw his hat into the political ring for the post of lieutenant governor in 2016.
Running as an independent, Meyers — who has never held elected or appointed office before — is facing competition from Kesha Ram, a Democratic representative from Burlington, and Republican Randy Brock, a former state senator and state auditor.
“I think that not having a formal background in politics is both an advantage and a disadvantage,” Meyers said Monday. “Someone who has been in the legislature, like Kesha Ram, or has been in government, like Randy Brock, has some institutional memory. The advantage of coming in without that background is that you’re coming in with a fresh set of eyes.”
Also in the race is Marlboro resident and Democrat Brandon Riker, who, like Meyers, is running for office for the first time.
A relative newcomer to the state, Meyers has lived in Vermont for three years, having previously lived in Virginia. He received a master’s degree in social work from Catholic University and his M.D. from George Washington University.
While he spent his early years in the field of social work, he has spent most of his career as a primary care provider.
“I see this as an extension of my primary care practice,” Meyers said. “My door would be open to all Vermonters who would want to come by.”
Living in Williston and working in Rutland has offered Meyers some perspective on the bifurcated nature of Vermont.
“Once you get outside Chittenden County, there are almost two Vermonts: Chittenden County and the rest of Vermont,” Meyers said. “The economic challenges people are facing in the rest of Vermont are much different. People are struggling to get by, and their hopes have dimmed in recent years.”
Meyers is calling for the state to spend more money on post-secondary education, “not just for young people, but for people who lost their jobs and need a chance to dream.”
Meyers said he would bring a fresh perspective to Vermont Health Connect, and would call for a “top-to-bottom” review of the state’s Medicaid program.
“We need to figure out how to get people off of Medicaid,” Meyers said. “We have a third of the state on Medicaid, which is simply unsustainable as a state. We have fewer and fewer people to pay for more and more services.”
Meyers made a comparison between Act 46, the state’s new school district merger law, and the nationwide shift from small medical practices to larger ones operated by corporations and universities.
“And yet, studies thus far do not definitively show that the larger practices are any less expensive or that their clinical results are any better,” Meyers said. “And certainly, many people miss the one-on-one attention they used to receive from their primary care provider in the independent practice.”
On the topic of marijuana legalization — which is expected to be one of the biggest issues to come before the legislature this upcoming session — Meyers declined to weigh in one way or another, but said that, as a doctor, he had “health concerns” with the possibility of legalization.
For more information, or to contact Meyers, visit his website at www.louismeyers.com.