Candidate profile: Ben Carson

Dr. Benjamin Carson announced his participation in the 2016 presidential race as a republican in May. Special to the Oracle

In a recent poll, Dr. Benjamin Carson pulled into the lead for the republican candidacy for president. In a New York Times poll on Tuesday, he saw a 20 percent increase over the past month and now sits at 26 percent — ahead of Donald Trump’s 22 percent.

Carson, a recently retired pediatric neurosurgeon and author, entered the race for the Republican Party’s 2016 presidential nomination in May. Although he’s never run for a political position before, he is known for his political voice.

He said he holds a different view than his republican counterparts regarding the use of medical marijuana, which he considers a viable treatment for chronically ill patients, though he remains strongly opposed to recreational drug use. 

Though strongly opposed to President Barack Obama’s health care law — going so far as to call it the “worse thing to happen to the nation since slavery.” Carson said he retained from his previous career the certainty that healthcare should be a right for everyone. Therefore, he said, he advocates for the creation of a $2,000 annual health saving account financed in part by federal deposits to which employers are encouraged to contribute, as a replacement for “Obamacare.”

“The program that I have outlined using health savings accounts starting from the time you are born until the time you die largely eliminates the need for people to be dependent on government programs,” he said in an interview with Fox News. 

When it comes to the increasing tuition rates, Carson said he wants to get to the root of the problem. He suggested making the public universities bear some of the weight of student loans debt. Also, he spoke openly against making the first 2 years of community college free.

However, according to an article in InsideHigherEd, Carson believes colleges should pay the interest on student loans and leave students responsible for the principle amount. Doing this, he said, will “motivate colleges to keep tuition rates low.” Additionally, the proposal would be “a better approach” than Sen. Bernie Sanders’ free tuition plan.

He also frequently denounces the federal government policies he accuses of encouraging dependency. On his official program, he denounced the “trend of the U.S. Department of Education increasingly trying to dictate how children are educated in our primary and secondary schools.” 

He proposes to raise the federal minimum wage through the creation of a less important starter minimum wage, which would create a lower minimum wage for first time employment to supposedly promote hiring.

“(We) have such a high minimum wage that it makes it impractical to hire (young people),” He said during last Republican Party debate in September. 

On civil rights issues, Carson rejects the BlackLivesMatter movement and the idea of racism, arguing the U.S. should “de-emphasize race and emphasize respect for each other.” 

He also said he is against same-sex marriage and considers that even though homosexuals should have rights, the marriage institutions should not be opened to every couple. However, he already declared that he would respect what he calls “the law of the land” in the case he is elected. 

Finally, on the subject of immigration, Carson’s belief are in line with common opinions on the republican side. For instance, suggests that immigration laws should be enforced, while the southern borders laws should be increased in terms of prosecuting illegal immigrants.

However, he opposes the mass exclusion project proposed by Trump. Instead of deportation, Carson suggested the creation of a national guest worker program that would allow for a greater number of work visas. 

Carson is described by his opponents as “low-energy” — his respectful speech and distanced tone make him appear above the fierce verbal competition between the other poll leaders. This below-the-radar strategy temporarily seems to attract some of the constituents tired of Trump’s omnipresence in the media and lack of restraint.

Currently engaged in a nationwide campaign, Carson will be in Tampa on Tuesday to sign his new book, “A more perfect Union,” which was released two weeks ago.

The event starts at 2:30 p.m. at the Barnes & Noble on Dale Mabry in South Tampa.