5 questions with Laura Dean, M.D.
Laura Dean is on the executive board of the national OB-GYN board, the mother of three, and a ubiquitous campaigner for her husband, Representative Matt Dean (R-Dellwood).
Are there challenges to being a conservative in the medical community?
Last year, I was elected to the national executive board of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. A lot of what we do deals with political issues at that level, especially because I’m also a member of the PAC’s governing board for the National OB-GYNs. We come from a variety of political backgrounds, but like many professional organizations, center-right and conservative professionals don’t participate broadly in governance bodies. One reason I participate is because I think there has to be balance in the decision making. Though there might be some other people who want to express a more conservative viewpoint, often they are afraid to speak up because sometimes, let’s face it, it’s not always cool to be conservative.
How did you develop your ideology?
I’m a blue collar kid from St. Paul, raised in a working-class construction family. I was raised in a family that didn’t have much extra money, but had a very strong family-work ethic. I also had two siblings who passed away at an early age from a rare degenerative brain disease. My parents lacked the wealth and knowledge of the system to self-advocate. They had to scrape for it. It was a very challenging situation and I thought, wow, more doctors should be nice and talk to people like they’re real people.
How did that manifest itself, then, in your obvious interest in public policy?
I was 30 when I finished my residency and had our first baby all within 24 hours of each other. Then you start thinking as a parent. You look around and say, whoa, what’s going on? Who is making the decisions about what happens in our community and our state and our country?
People around you wonder how you make the time: You are so visible and so motivating around Matt’s campaign activities. Where do you find the time?
Matt’s my husband, and I believe in him more than anybody. I also think we’re so lucky to have him serving at the capitol because he’s a serious person who works very hard. The kids have grown up around politics and we have always brought them with us to events in the district and around the state. We drag their friends along too. We always tried to make it fun for them, mostly successfully.
You were a first-time delegate to the national convention in Cleveland. Without being partisan, what was your takeaway?
It was extremely exciting, very exciting. There was a lot of energy. It was interesting. It was fascinating to be part of this up close, interacting with other delegates, meeting people from across the country, and hearing speakers known and unknown. I was a little disappointed and frankly surprised that the delegates did not complete more real business, compared to a local or state convention. It was clearly an entertaining event for TV. I hope that it gets back a bit to the old days where more is up in the air and up to the delegates.