Prostitution, organ trade — and an income tax

Dr. Ted Haley serves up a smorgasbord of issues and can make what most voters would see as absurd moral decay into a valid, practical platform. But Haley was destined for a career in politics — he was named after Theodore Roosevelt, after all.

“I can’t resist running for politics,” Haley said. “I should be a preacher. I love to get up on the stump and tell people what we should be doing.”

But before constituents start waving Old Glory and reminiscing about foreign policy, environmentalism and the teddy bear, take note that Dr. Haley, a Libertarian running against fellow doctor Matt Rice and incumbent Pat Lantz for her seat in the house representing the 26th District, is a myriad of contradictions:

Haley supports education, but also prostitution. He saves lives, but insists sometimes the most compassionate thing to do is end them.

Prisoners should not be executed, according to Haley, unless their organs can be given back to society. He started his career as a Republican, but is now running on the Libertarian ticket.

And that’s just the beginning.

Haley was born and raised in Tacoma and finished high school at Stadium, when taking a language meant Latin or Greek, not Spanish, French, German or Japanese. He quickly enlisted in the Navy and started college at Amherst in 1940, but it wasn’t long before World War II interrupted his plans.

“I (had) joined when I was a teenager,” Haley said. “Two of my brothers (had) joined the Navy. (The Navy) called me up when I was in college because they needed doctors. During World War II, the Navy needed doctors.”

Haley left Amherst when he was called to active duty in 1942, but the war was over in 1945 and he went back to earn his bachelor’s degree in pre-med, studying history. He went on to medical school at the University of Rochester in New York and graduated in 1947.

Haley then began his residency in surgery. He served in the Korean War from 1951 to 1953 as a doctor.

His first duty station was near Seattle, but he went on to Tokyo and then served in a Mobile Army Surgical Hospital (M.A.S.H.) unit in Korea. Although Haley’s unit was not the one featured in the popular television show, the units were stationed side by side and, after the war, Haley said producers began calling him wanting stories of his time in the M.A.S.H. to be used in the show.

Haley performed many dramatic surgeries in Korea, but he preferred to go home and begin general private practice. He stayed in the Army Reserves and worked in a Reserve hospital until 1968. He retired, ending his military career as a lieutenant colonel after 20 years of service.

“I went home to Tacoma and practiced there for many years,” Haley said.

After all he had experienced, Haley spent most of the 1970s and early ’80s immersed in politics.

Haley served in the Washington state Legislature for 10 years, from 1974-1984, as a representative and as a senator in the 28th District.

“I was always in the very small minority in the Republican party there,” Haley laughed. “After 10 years, I decided I really wasn’t made out to be a Republican.”

Nor did Haley feel he could continue a career in politics and maintain his growing practice.

“(Politics) cut into my private practice a lot,” Haley said. “I couldn’t stand to give up medicine, so I gave up politics instead.”

Haley said he wanted a sub-specialty in medicine, so he went to Chicago’s Cook County Hospital, where he received training in surgical intensive care — not a far cry from his original trial by fire in the M.A.S.H. unit in Korea.

“I retired a little over a year ago,” Haley said. “(But) I got a call from the people that I had worked with and I had loved and they asked me back.”

Haley is currently a visiting associate professor at the University of Illinois in Rockford, where he works with third-year medical students. He has served as a volunteer surgeon in Rwanda, Bolivia and Pakistan.

However, the pull of politics is strong.

Haley’s current Libertarian campaign focuses on 16 issues on topics ranging from taxes, transportation and education to the more lively prostitution debate, capital punishment and organ trade.

“Repeal the B&O tax,” Haley said. “It taxes both profit and expense. Enact a graduated income tax like most other states. We need an income tax in our state and we’ve been thinking about it for a long time. We’ve had important people like Dan Evans trying to put it through.”

Haley also speaks passionately about education.

“We’ve got to do something to increase the salaries of our teachers,” Haley said. “The price of living is going up.”

Haley said teachers have the most important occupation one can have.

“We suffer in this country by not having an excellent, first-rate education program,” Haley said. “I’m very concerned about education. If we got any extra bucks, education is one of the major areas we should be spending it on.”

Haley also believes a simple majority should be able to pass a levy and the state should work to match levies dollar for dollar, but Haley’s other strong beliefs have nothing to do with children.

“In the state of Washington, especially, we’ve got all these soldiers and sailors staying here. They’ve left home and are lonesome as heck and their testosterone levels are high.”

According to Haley, they should have the opportunity to buy what they need.

“Prostitution is necessary,” Haley said. “We’ve got to honor our people in uniform.”

Haley’s views on death are interesting, knowing how much death he has been exposed to after his years as an emergency war surgeon.

“Enact assisted suicide like Oregon,” Haley said. “Compassion is paramount.”

Haley believes in assisted suicide, but is vehemently against capital punishment.

“(Capital punishment) is too easy a way out,” Haley said. “Keep them alive, keep them working hard labor.”

But Haley said if the government is determined to execute prisoners, their organs should be put to use.

“Harvest organs for transplant from executed criminals,” Haley stated. “Last year, 6.5 percent of kidney and 14.3 percent of heart patients died waiting for transplants. Their organs could have saved a hundred people. (The prisoner) could have paid back a small price to society.”

The topic of organs is near and dear to Haley’s heart and shows that years of life experience have led to an appreciation of individual freedoms and rights.

“If I want to sell my kidney, that’s my business,” Haley said. “My body is sacred to me and the First Amendment of the Constitution says I can do anything I want with my body.”

Haley has been married for seven years to a Honduran woman he met while in Chicago.

“Most of my patients spoke I asked her for a lesson,” Haley laughed.

Haley’s list of issues also fall under topics such as transportation, health care costs, environmentalism, voting, handguns, same-sex marriage and adoption, nuclear power and drug-addiction treatment. Some of his opinions are not what one would expect.

“If I live to be 150,” he said, “I’ll run every two years and I’ll talk about (these) issues and more.”

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