Dr. Michelle Downey Caldier announced today she will run for State Representative in the 26th District for the seat currently held by Democrat Larry Seaquist.
“I’ve never been that political,” said Caldier. “I have devoted my career as a dentist to helping the elderly in nursing homes and advocating for the poor.”
Caldier successfully lobbied with others to restore adult dental Medicaid that the legislature cut in 2010. Finally, in January of next year, people with low incomes will have Medicaid dental coverage again.
But Caldier said that the mountains of paperwork and regulations surrounding Medicaid prevent many providers from being able to accept Medicaid, leaving many patients without consistent care.
“Making the process more efficient will bring more medical providers into the system and ensure that Medicaid works for those who need it,” said Caldier.
Caldier is an affiliate professor at the University of Washington Dental School and said she sees the financial crunch her students at the UW face with increasing tuition costs and a higher debt load when they graduate.
Caldier said tuition at the University of Washington was $5,880 in 2006 and has more than doubled at over $12,000 today.
“People in our community are losing some of the opportunities I had,” said Caldier. “That is not right. It kills the dreams of parents and students.”
Caldier said that, after building her dental practice for the past decade, she is excited for the chance to serve.
“The people of this community have given so much to me,” said Caldier. “Teachers, my family, and my friends. I want to give back to the community that gave so much to me.”
Caldier is fourth-generation Kitsap County and a graduate of Central Kitsap High School. She received a Bachelor of Science degree in Cell and Molecular Biology from the University of Washington and graduated from the UW School of Dentistry in 2001.
Caldier is the owner of Golden Age Dentistry that provides dental services to the elderly in nursing homes around Puget Sound. From 2008 to 2013, she served as Chair of the Access to Care Committee of the dental society. She has been an active foster parent, raising two grown foster daughters and her teenage biological daughter.