As a cancer biologist and pharmacologist, Michael Masterman-Smith, Ph.D. plays a part in the future of health care.
He hopes his next career move as a congressional candidate won’t be any different.
Masterman-Smith is running for California’s 25th Congressional District seat, currently held by Steve Knight, R-Palmdale, and hopes to keep his focus on the medical field.
“We have to have people who know what they’re talking about when talking about health care problems,” Masterman-Smith said.
In order to fix the complexities of health care in America, the nation needs someone who understands its intricacies, according to the biologist.
To fix the system from the federal level, he believes his expertise will help make health care more affordable. He also hopes to encourage use of medical cannabis, enforce the responsible use of pharmaceutical medicine and combat the opioid crisis.
Many people are unhappy because their medical treatment is at risk of being taken away, he said, and his goal is to ensure care.
In this effort, he hopes to make expand health care availability and reduce costly insurance premiums.
By nature, scientists aim to find solutions, which he said would be valuable in government instead of a person whose primary goal was to argue their own point.
Though he’s a lifelong Democrat, Masterman-Smith said he is less concerned with flipping the 25th District blue and more interested in creating bipartisan relationships.
And he thinks the subject of medical marijuana can play its part in this. The issue has brought together people on both sides of the political spectrum, he said.
Masterman-Smith originally hails from New Jersey, but said he became familiar with the district when he was young.
His father, military communication research engineer Kenneth Masterman-Smith, designed and built the SCORE communications package for the world’s first communications satellite and came to the Antelope Valley on business.
“My dad was out here a lot,” he recalls.
Masterman-Smith plans to move to Simi Valley and make the 25th District his home soon.
But currently, he’s living on a boat docked in Marina del Rey.
When he was launching CA Labs, Inc., his plant-based pharmaceutical company, he decided to simplify his life to focus on his business, traveling around Los Angeles and Ventura counties for work and making himself familiar with different cities in Southern California.
Before this move, he was a postdoctoral scholar at UCLA and went back to New Jersey for a short time.
Also, Masterman-Smith has friends in the Wishtoyo Foundation and the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians, the group that fought to protect the stickleback fish and the spineflower from the Newhall Ranch Development.
From them, he’s learned about the area and the importance of following one’s convictions, he said.
“If you feel strongly about something, fight for it,” Masterman-Smith said. “I feel that warrior spirit in me.”