From Paramedicine to Politics

     Many people talk about wanting to make a difference, but few actually take action. EMS Magazine editorial advisory board member Erik Gaull is one of the few who has taken the first step to realize his ambition. On April 25, Gaull kicked off his campaign for the Ward 3 seat on the Washington, DC, city council.

     Gaull, a public servant for 26 years, is no stranger to the political arena. His work experience includes positions in City Hall in New York City and Washington, DC, the U.S. House of Representatives and the New Mexico State Department of Health. He has also served as a volunteer with the D.C. Metropolitan Police Department and the Montgomery County Fire-Rescue Service for nearly 20 years, and is an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Emergency Medicine at The George Washington University School of Medicine.

     One of Gaull's primary goals if he is elected is to improve the beleaguered DC EMS system and make it an example for the nation.

     "One of the things I would stress is that my election, from an EMS standpoint, is really a national election," says Gaull. "Even though this is a city council/state legislature race, it's taking place in Washington, DC, which is the second home to the 435 members of Congress and 100 U.S. senators, all of whom have a vote; all of whom help with decisions about how money is appropriated; all of whom get their impressions of what EMS is, both from their home communities and from Washington, DC, where they see an active and busy system. And when they read about disastrous consequences, like an incident we had here when a New York Times' reporter was bludgeoned to death and the EMS system appears to have dropped the ball, all those people who are sitting on Capitol Hill know that this EMS system doesn't seem to be very good and they begin wondering how that compares to what goes on back home. They start thinking, 'If they aren't doing it well here, is it the same back home and should we be funding it?' It creates a lot of doubt."

     That, says Gaull, is why his bid for office could be considered a national election.

     "We need a top-quality EMS system in the national's capital," he says. "It should be a shining example of how to run an EMS system; how to make one work so other jurisdictions can look to Washington, DC, and see the best in action. That would serve everyone's EMS system well, because the legislators who are sitting on Capitol Hill would have a much better view of EMS."

     The election will be held on September 12. If you are interested in Gaull's campaign, visit his website at www.gaull2006.com.

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