From ‘between the two Rivers’ to Oklahoma, Johnny Roy seeks 5th C.D. post
By Patrick B. McGuigan
Dr. Johnny Roy is a respected physician and a Republican. He is running for the Fifth Congressional District post now held by U.S. Rep. Mary Fallin, who is leaving the U.S. House as she seeks to become Oklahoma’s next governor.
Dr. Roy gained respect but only a few thousand votes in 2006, when a crowded field ultimately yielded Fallin as the GOP nominee and eventual victor in the general election. Roy believes things will be different this time:
“There are no true businessmen among the top candidates except for me. I believe both as a businessman and as a doctor I bring something unique to the debate.
“My opponents all say, ‘I’m a conservative.’ Well, I am a conservative, too. All of the Republicans in this race are conservatives; so saying that again and again is a bit like fluffing the pillows.”
He continues: “When you look down into the issues, it brings me to health care. This year’s terrible federal health care bill was crafted by three lawyers. Where is the steward of health care in this debate? When Hillarycare was written in the early 1990s, she had 500 members on task her force to study health care, but not one doctor.”
Warming to his subject, Dr. Roy asserts: “For no doctors to have been involved in developing these important bills is ridiculous. As we tackle health care in the future, it seems ridiculous to me not to have a physician involved.
“Let me continue. Health care constitutes one-sixth of our economy. This issue touches the most fundamental issues, the care of who we are as human beings. Don’t leave this area of policy to lawyers, lobbyists and bureaucrats. Let’s get some doctors involved. I’m a doctor.”
His strategy to get noticed and make the runoff is based on credentials in an unusual year: “The other candidates are all, every one of them, honorable men. But I am the only candidate with substantial experience in health care and with practical business experience. I have already committed that, like Dr. Tom Coburn when he served in the U.S. House, I will serve three terms. I will do my job and then I will come home.
“How do I get there? Well, I have the same agenda as I did in 2006. In that campaign, there were several big names in the race: Mary Fallin, Denise Bode and Mick Cornett, all significant and important leaders.
“This time there is not an heir apparent, and none of the names rival those three from that campaign. I will spend enough money to get my message out. People know me now, and I have decent name recognition. I am not a lawyer or a politician.
“My opponents, my colleagues in this race, are lawyers and politicians. I am not and that makes me distinctive.”
Beyond health care and business acumen, Dr. Roy emphasizes conservative mainstream views on budget discipline, tax controls, and other Republican goals. He envisions a relatively modest budget, but not the smallest one in the race: “Some of the other candidates have big war chests and one has support from the downtown crowd. I will spend maybe $100-150,000. My supporters are taxi drivers, dry cleaner operators, fellow doctors. They are my friends who know me.”
Dr. Johnny Roy is, as he puts it, from “the Land between the two Rivers.” His father was British, his mother Iraqi. CapitolBeatOK closed the interview asking the man born in Iraq if his ethnicity and accent had been a blessing or a burden, as a practical matter, in his two campaigns.
Dr. Roy reflected on the issue this way: “I can’t help it of course that I am a new generation of Oklahoman. What I tell people is I love it here. I am an Oklahoman by choice. I chose Oklahoma because I love Oklahoma.
“With my background of success elsewhere, including in Hawaii, I could be anywhere and make a good living. I am here because I want to be here, and I would like to be the U.S. representative for this place I love.”