REDONDO BEACH, CA — The 2020 election is heating up in Los Angeles County, and there are plenty of races with candidates eager to serve in elected office. Eyes are primarily focused on the presidential election, but voters will also decide the outcome of state representative and senate seats.
Closer to home, Patch has asked candidates for municipal races to discuss their campaigns, publishing candidate profiles as election day draws near.
In the South Bay, Martha Koo, M.D. is running for one of the open seats for the Beach Cities Health District.
Where appropriate, add specifics about office sought: i.e., State Senate District 1, State Assembly District 2, Temecula City Council District 1, etc.
Party affiliation (not needed in non-partisan races, including county, city and school offices)
I have two daughters, Summer and Tess, ages 24 and 21, a wonderful partner, and three amazing pets.
Does anyone in your family work in politics or government?
Princeton University, 1983-1987
UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine, 1988-1992
UCLA Neuropsychiatric Institute, 1992-1996
New Center for Psychoanalysis, 1996-2001
physician for 24 years
Previous or Current Elected or Appointed Office
The single most pressing issue facing our (state, district, community, etc.) is _______, and this is what I intend to do about it.
The single most pressing issue facing our community is the risk of a second mental health pandemic post COVID-19. We need to act now in order to prevent increasing depression, anxiety, substance abuse, and PTSD during these times of emotional, physical, environmental, financial and employment instability. I will advocate for the continuation of programs that support the elderly, particularly with socialization and exercise, to prevent isolation, depression and cognitive impairment. By promoting the ALLCOVE project I will encourage early mental wellness intervention and support healthy transitioning in our youth and young adults. For Beach Cities residents of all ages, I will fight for programs and policies that minimize environmental impact as I believe we can only be as healthy as the community we live in.
What are the critical differences between you and the other candidates seeking this post?
As a psychiatrist and medical doctor I am uniquely qualified to implement the current BCHD missions. For over 20 years I have been promoting health in the South Bay. As a long-standing Manhattan Beach resident and business owner I am significantly invested in the community’s wellness and future success.
If you are a challenger, in what way has the current officeholder failed the community (or district or constituency)
Some Beach CIties’ residents have expressed feelings that the current Board is disconnected from them, their desires and needs. Others have been surprised to hear about the many wonderful BCHD programs and how unaware of these programs they are. It is a particularly crucial time for residents to be aware of actions taken by the Beach Cities Health District’s Board due to pending decisions about the development and design of the Healthy Living Campus. I am dedicated to increasing awareness, engaging the community, and advocating for my neighbors’ needs.
Describe the other issues that define your campaign platform
I strongly believe in de-stigmatizing mental illness, improving mental health education and increasing early intervention for mental wellness.
What accomplishments in your past would you cite as evidence you can handle this job?
I am a successful physician, business owner and educator. That I value dedication and fulfill commitments is evident by the 12 years of education I completed after high school to become a medical specialist and psychoanalyst. My 24 year career in psychiatry, serving the Beach Cities, demonstrates my passion for mental wellness. The establishment of Neuro Wellness Spa, a company I founded in order to design clinical programs and offer cutting edge treatments, testifies to leadership in my field as well as to my desire for innovation. I am also an enthusiastic educator. I am a clinical instructor at two psychoanalytic institutes and I educate the Community Helpline volunteers. Additionally, as a Board Member of the Clinical TMS Society I already have board experience.
If you win this position, what accomplishment would make your term in office as a success?
I would feel my term a success if more people knew about, cared about, participated in and benefited from the programs offered by the Beach Cities Health District.
Why should voters trust you?
Above all, I am a Manhattan Beach resident and parent. My devotion to and investment in my local community are top priorities. Additionally, my career is founded on my ability to listen to and understand others. I am trained to be open-minded, integrate different perspectives and resolve conflict. Voters can trust that they can put their faith and their interests with me.
What are your views on fiscal policy, government spending and the use of taxpayer dollars in the office you are seeking?
What is most important to me is that Beach Cities’ residents know where and how their tax dollars are spent, that they feel their investments are beneficial and that they are personally excited by the policies and programs being implemented.
Is there any reason you would not serve your full term of office, other than those of health or family?
The best advice ever shared with me was …
“Very few things in life are an emergency.” Perspective is everything.
What else would you like voters to know about yourself and your positions?
My fight for a healthier South Bay is personal. My advocacy for my community is advocacy for my family, my patients, my friends, my neighbors and our future.