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Beckley physician announces run for Congressional seat


The Register-Herald

BECKLEY, W.Va. — Beckley physician Dr. Ayne Amjad has announced her intentions to run for the Third Congressional District U.S. House seat currently held by Republican Evan Jenkins.

Dr. Ayne Amjad

After her unsuccessful run as a write-in candidate for Beckley mayor, Amjad said she knew right away she wanted to run for another office.

Initially, she thought of running for governor in four years. But when she learned Jenkins was going to challenge incumbent Democrat Joe Manchin for the U.S. Senate seat, she saw the Congressional seat as an option.

Amjad plans on filing paperwork within the next month.

She knows the district well — she grew up in Beckley, she has practiced medicine in Beckley and Princeton, and she went to school in Huntington at Marshall University.

“It might be a good way to start getting things done,” she said.

Amjad has been a leader in health care in Beckley — first with weight loss initiatives, and recently in trying to establish a needle exchange program to curb the spread of HIV and hepatitis C.

“That’s our No. 1 problem — health care and opioids. I would know a lot more on the ground level how to deal with it. I don’t think we have enough health care providers in government to make good advice. You’re asking people who have never talked to patients, who have never treated patients to decide what a health care bill is. You can’t ask a lawyer how to treat the opioid epidemic. I’m sorry, you can’t.”

She believes her medical background could provide insight and solutions. She also believes her skill set as a doctor, as a listener, could prove highly beneficial.

“You have to listen to people. If I go to a town hall meeting, I’m not there to push my agenda. I’m there to listen. You have to listen to what they want to do, come up with a plan together, and try to execute it.”

Amjad has grown frustrated as a physician trying to make positive strides in her community. She believes as a politician, she would have the clout needed to effect real change.

“I want that position so I can make changes. Otherwise, I don’t think I can get anything done.”

Currently registered as a Democrat, Amjad plans to change her party affiliation to Republican before entering the race. She has been registered as a Democrat since she was 18, but she said she now realizes politics aren’t black and white.

“I’m kind of in between. If you want to represent your state, they’re Republican. Their beliefs are Republican.”

 She knows campaigning will be difficult, but she plans to start traveling to major cities within the district to learn more about the issues in each area. She said she realizes the scale of this campaign will be much bigger than her mayoral run, but she’s ready for the challenge.

Amjad anticipates many challenges, especially as a female minority candidate, but she said those labels may also work in her favor.

“If the Republican party really wants to reach out to minority females, like me, they need someone to speak their voice and to show that.”

She hopes her bid, whether successful or not, will encourage other young women to vie for office as well.

She’s unsure about the future of her practice if she were to be elected. She’d either sell her practice or hire a physician to oversee the Beckley and Princeton locations.

“It would change a lot of things, but it’s the only thing I can do different now than what I’m doing… I want to try and see what happens. It doesn’t hurt to try, right?”

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