An Interview with Representative Troy A. Carter, Sr.
Issue: September/October 2021
Author: Lisa A. Moreno, MD MS MSCR FAAEM FIFEM
Welcome to the next installment of Common Sense’s Legislators in the News column. This column is designed to help you get to know your legislators, understand the legislative process and how you can influence it, and strengthen the Academy’s relationship with our lawmakers for the purpose of improving the working conditions of physicians and the health care of the nation.
In this issue, we interview Congressman Troy A. Carter, Sr. (D-LA). Rep. Carter is serving in his first term as the Congressman from Louisiana’s 2nd Congressional District and currently serves on two House Committees, the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and the Small Business Committee. His brief bio follows this article.
Dr. Moreno: You have a long history of serving New Orleans as a city councilman, Louisiana State Representative, and Louisiana State Senator. What factors prompted you to make the move to the federal government?
Rep. Carter: It’s been an honor and a privilege to serve my community on essentially every level of government. From each experience I’ve learned so much and gained a better understanding of what public service is.
Public service is so many things. It’s making sure the garbage gets picked up. It’s fighting to get healthcare to cover more essential medical procedures. Public service is listening to the people, and being in the community, then taking action on their behalf. After all of this public service at the local and state level, I wanted to be of service in a new way. After decades of debating how to spend federal dollars, I was ready to be the one fighting to bring those dollars into Louisiana and the 2nd District.
Dr. Moreno: What do you consider the most important health related issues that Congress will address this year?
Rep. Carter: The top issues for me are recovering from COVID-19, combating racial health disparities, prescription drug affordability, and expanding eligibility for Medicare.
Dr. Moreno: You have a strong record of opposition to expanding gun rights. This is a major issue for AAEM. We are one of the founding organizations of the American Foundation for Firearm Injury Reduction in Medicine. The immediate past president, Dr. David Farcy, and I recently published our research on how Emergency Physicians can improve our role in the prevention of firearm injury.1 As a native New Yorker living in NOLA, and as an EP in these cities, I am acutely aware of the devastating toll of firearm injury and the disproportionate burden borne by young males of color. Please share with me how you came to have such a strong position on the expansion of gun rights and tell me what you believe physicians can do to support your position in Congress.
Rep. Carter: Communities of color in my district are hit hardest by gun violence, and it’s clear something has to change. As a policymaker, as a neighbor of yours in New Orleans, and as a Black father of two Black sons, we are in full agreement on that.
I am open to discussing strategies to comprehensively address this scourge of violence, and I think a wide coalition could help make this discussion more effective. If this nation is going to see less gun violence we have to change policy and we have to change culture – they go hand in hand. As a group trusted by way more people than Congress is, I think emergency physicians can be an incredible voice to policymakers and to members of the community. As physicians, you have seen the damage guns can cause and tried to repair it within people’s bodies. That must be devastating. It’s time for everyone to step up and join you in repairing the damage they cause within our communities. I look forward to being a partner in this effort.
Dr. Moreno: One of your appointments is to the Committee on Small Business. AAEM supports physician ownership of democratic medical professional groups as opposed to the control of physician practice by large corporations. We share the view you expressed in a recent interview that corporations wake up each morning thinking about how to make a profit, while governments need to focus on service. We hold that while large corporations have a fiduciary duty to make a profit for shareholders, physicians have a fiduciary duty to provide the best medical care to every patient, regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, sexual preference, gender identity, age, ability to pay, or any other human condition. We feel physicians should control our medical practices so that we can put the patient first. Do you see a role for physicians who hold these ethical standards to collaborate with the Committee on Small Business to control our medical practices so that we can keep patients before profits?
Rep. Carter: I think emergency medical physicians should tell their stories fully in both their roles: as a physician and as a business owner. That’s a unique perspective that needs to be heard more. Congress should explore how to make it easier for physicians to open and run their own businesses, and support your efforts to make healthcare more affordable, accessible, and culturally competent. There are a lot of federal services available to small businesses but we need to improve ease of access to these programs. My office is open to help all small business owners in my district in this difficult time and beyond.
Dr. Moreno: One of the ways in which the physician’s commitment to put the patient first can be protected is to ensure that we have the right to due process so that our employment cannot be terminated when we raise concerns about patient safety in the emergency department. Emergency physicians who often are forced to waive their due process rights in their employment contracts have been fired during the COVID pandemic for fighting for adequate PPE and standing up for patients and other emergency personnel. Would you support legislation, such as H.R. 6910 introduced last Congress by Representative Raul Ruiz, which would provide critical protections for emergency physicians to advocate for their patients?
Rep. Carter: I am a proud and strong supporter of unions and the right to organize in general, in large part because of the worker protections they provide. I do think all workers should have full due process rights and I look forward to finding ways to improve protections for all workers throughout my time in Congress. I would be happy to consider the bill further and to sit down with my colleague Dr. Raul Ruiz to learn more.
Dr. Moreno: Congressman Carter, I want to thank you for taking the time to talk with us about issues that are important to emergency physicians and to lawmakers. I am looking forward to seeing you when we come to Washington, D.C., for our AAEM Advocacy Day on October 19 and to possibly visiting your office on October 20. Collaboration between doctors and lawmakers will go a long way to protecting the health of the public, so thank you for collaborating with us on this interview and going forward.
Representative Troy A. Carter, Sr. Bio
The Honorable Troy A. Carter, Sr. is serving in his first term as the Congressman from Louisiana’s 2nd Congressional District, encompassing most of New Orleans East & West Bank, Jefferson Parish, and River Parishes including St Charles, St. James, St John the Baptist, Ascension, Assumption, Iberville, as well as portions of East Baton Rouge and West Baton Rouge Parish.
Congressman Carter currently serves on two House Committees, the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, one of the largest committees in Congress that has jurisdiction over all modes of transportation, and the Small Business Committee, which has direct oversight and consideration over all matters affecting America’s backbone, small businesses.
The youngest of six children, Congressman Carter was raised in Algiers. He is a product of Orleans Parish Public Schools and went on to graduate from Xavier University, earning a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Business Administration. Additionally, Congressman Carter earned his MBA graduating Summa Cum Laude from Holy Cross University.
Soon after graduating from Xavier University, Congressman Carter served for six years as the Executive Assistant to Mayor Sidney Barthelemy. In 1991, Congressman Carter became the first African American to be elected to the Louisiana House of Representatives from the 102nd District in Algiers, where he served as the youngest ever floor leader representing the City of New Orleans.
In 1994, Congressman Carter was elected to the New Orleans City Council, representing District ‘C’, which includes Algiers, and the historic French Quarter, again becoming the first African American elected to the position. After a hiatus from public office, Congressman Carter was elected to the State Senate for Louisiana’s 7th District, where he served as the Senate Minority Leader for the Democratic Caucus. During his time as a Legislator, Congressman Carter authored and co-sponsored hundreds of bills.
As a Louisiana Legislator, Congressman Carter championed large-scale infrastructure projects, economic development, and efforts to decrease homelessness drastically. He has also worked as a staunch advocate for criminal justice reform, women’s health care, and civil rights and equality on behalf of the LGBTQI community. As Congressman, he actively continues his work to address the issues above and several others, including COVID-19 relief for individuals and small businesses, environmental justice reform, and reducing student debt.
Congressman Carter is a proud husband to wife, Brigadier General Andreé Navarro-Carter of the United States Army, and father to sons Troy Jr. and Joshua. They live on the Westbank of New Orleans, where Congressman Carter was born and raised.
The Honorable Congressman Troy A. Carter, Sr. has enjoyed a series of historic firsts including:
- 1st African American elected to the Louisiana State House from District 102
- 1st African American elected to the New Orleans City Council representing District C
- 1st African American elected to the Louisiana State Senate from District 7
- 1st Congressman elected to Louisiana’s 2nd Congressional District from the Westbank
- 1st Congressman whose spouse is a General Officer in the United States Army