He just wanted to help.
But local governments wouldn’t allow dentist (and now State Representative) Cedric Hayden to open full service dental clinics offering free services to the poor of Oregon’s economically depressed areas.
Says Hayden, “you have to ask yourself, why would free health care services be rejected? Was there not a need?”
Of course, there is a need, and Hayden has the tools to help. He and his wife Julie founded Caring Hands Worldwide in 2006, a non-profit that sets up mobile dental clinics and brings in dentists and dental hygienists to serve those in need of dental healthcare in Oregon and around the world.
But despite the great need and his desire to help, Hayden was unable to get permission to move forward.
“In one case we had even purchased land for the clinic—property that still sits empty in an economically depressed logging town.”
Thus began Hayden’s bid for serving in the State Legislature. After a decisive victory in the 2014 election, Hayden set to work pushing legislation that would prohibit local governments from preventing free medical clinics from locating to private property.
This effort finally paid off in late May with the passage of House Bill 3139 by the House and Senate and with the signature of the Governor.
At the bill signing ceremony, Hayden’s son Wessen turned to him and said to great laughs, “Daddy, you made a law!”