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Blairsville doctor to seek House seat

POSTED: January 22, 2010 12:21 a.m.

There is another Republican in the running for Georgia’s 9th District seat in Congress.

Blairsville cardiologist Chris Cates announced on Thursday that he, too, will seek the seat U.S. Rep. Nathan Deal will leave at the end of this year. Deal, R-Gainesville, is seeking the Republican nomination in the state’s gubernatorial race.

Cates becomes the ninth Republican seeking the U.S. House seat, which includes much of North Georgia and stretches from Hall County to Northwest Georgia. Former Department of Transportation board chairman Mike Evans, a Cumming Republican, dropped out of the race last week.

Cates is an interventional cardiologist who has held weekly clinics in Hiawassee, Blairsville and Dahlonega for 21 years. He said he felt compelled to enter the race after an unsuccessful meeting with Steny Hoyer, Democratic majority leader of the House.

“We were meeting with him the day this health care bill ... came out of committee, and we were up there and said ‘we’re the heads of all the societies of medicine and we’re the docs, Mr. Hoyer,’” Cates said. “We know there are problems with health care; we know how to fix them, because we’re the physician community ... we know how to fix the problems, but we’ve not been engaged.”

After getting a response that Cates less than desired from Hoyer and a “time of reflection,” Cates said he decided to run for Congress.

Among the Republicans running for the 9th District seat, Cates said he is not a career politician but an expert in his field offering his service in Washington.

Already, Cates said he has raised more than $277,000, $200,000 of which he donated to his campaign.

“Before you ask people to invest, you invest in yourself,” Cates said.

While the pool of Republican candidates seeking the nomination in the race is already brimming, Cates said the race isn’t about being a party affiliate but instead getting the best people in Washington.

“I’m not running against them — I’m running for Congress,” Cates said.

Cates founded and served as chairman of an American College of Cardiology conference on cost-effective health care delivery. He said he helped open the catheterization laboratory at Lanier Park hospital in Gainesville.

Cates was most recently the director of vascular intervention at Emory University Hospital and Emory’s Crawford Long Hospital.

Cates and his wife, Joy, have been married for more than 30 years and have three grown children. They are awaiting the arrival of their first grandchild in April.



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