The Tennessean editorial board asked candidates for the Aug. 4 federal and state primary ballot in Tennessee to answer our questionnaire. Find biographical information and their answers to 10 questions. Early voting began on July 15.
- Last name: Dr Jason Brantley Martin
- Age (at time of August 4 election): 47
- Neighborhood, town and/or city: Nashville
- Education: Tulane University – Undergrad University of South Alabama – Medical School Vanderbilt University – Residency and Fellowship
- Employment History: Chief Resident at Nashville Veteran Affairs Medical Center Meharry Medical College Nashville General College Sumner Regional Hospital
- Family: Married to Dr. Jennifer Martin, they now have three daughters: Lilly, Ansley and Laney.
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Ten questions about your candidacy
What office are you looking for? (Include district):
Why are you running for this office?
As a physician working in public health at Nashville General Hospital, one of our major hospitals in Tennessee, I have seen how detrimental the lack of access to adequate health care is. to people’s lives – and how, in some cases, it cost them their lives. . I know we can do better to take care of each other.
During the COVID pandemic, although we were able to help so many people survive, our team lost over 400 patients in Sumner County – and I know we could have done better for many of those patients if Governor Lee had clearly spoken the truth and been a leader at that time. I know the lack of leadership isn’t just COVID-related – it’s prevalent throughout the state government enterprise, and it’s the reason we’re underfunding our schools, failing to stand up for our teachers, lock people up for petty cannabis offenses, neglect economic growth in rural Tennessee, and fail to expand Medicaid. It’s time for real leadership in Tennessee.
What makes you qualified for this position and better qualified than your opponent(s)? (Please specify if unopposed, but feel free to respond)
First and foremost, on the front lines of health care, I have seen how regressive public policies hurt families in Tennessee. I have a heart for service. I was a public servant in Tennessee for 20 years in the health profession, and I want to take on my role as a healer, as a consensus builder for the state government. As part of my job in intensive care, I deal with high-stakes issues every day with literal life and death consequences – I want to bring the same stable, calm and collaborative approach that I use in the hospital to the state government, where we need strong, consistent and principled leadership. Make no mistake, some people will tell you that you have to be a lawyer or a career politician before you get into the governor’s office. Governor Lee’s failures have nothing to do with NOT being a career politician – it is a failure because he is more interested in pursuing national political ambitions and toeing the party line than to take care of the hardworking families of Tennessee. We need a governor with a heart for public service, with a record of healing, and with a record of speaking the truth.
How can you have the greatest impact on your community through this position?
We desperately need principled leadership. I want to have the biggest impact by telling the truth, refusing rhetoric, and focusing my energy on improving people’s lives rather than lining my own or my friends’ pockets. Governor Lee admitted it was wrong to make it harder for inmates to get out of jail early for certain convictions – he said it was a bad idea to recently pass the ‘truth in determination’ legislation pain”, but he did not have the political courage. veto this bill. He did not have the courage to speak the truth and act on principle, so he let this bill become law without his signature. It is not leadership. A similar situation arose when the General Assembly essentially criminalized homelessness by making it a crime to “camp” on state land – Governor Lee thought that was the wrong way to deal with homelessness. homeless population, but he did not have the courage to veto that. legislation; he did not have the courage to meet his political allies in the General Assembly. This lack of courage and principle is detrimental to the people of Tennessee.
If you are elected (or re-elected), what are your 2 to 3 priorities for your new (or next) mandate?
- We need to expand Medicaid. Expanding Medicaid is not only the right thing to do to care for our brothers and sisters here in Tennessee, but it’s also the right thing to do economically. In Tennessee, we lead the nation in hospital closings per capita, and we lead the nation in medical bankruptcies per capita – we are breaking our families and our communities with medical debt. When access to health care disappears, our factories, factories and stores also disappear. Rural Tennessee is left behind without access to health care. With Medicaid expansion, we could reduce the number of uninsured Tennessees by 50 percent! We could help 400,000 more Tennessians gain access to health insurance tomorrow if the Governor and the General Assembly had the courage to do so. Better access to health care would support economic growth, especially in rural Tennessee.
- We must protect the health rights of women in the State of Tennessee. Here’s what we know about abortion restrictions: Abortion restrictions don’t stop abortions – they just stop SAFE abortions. Abortion restrictions do not prevent abortions for everyone — only for people who cannot afford to travel to other states where the services are offered. We must stand up for marginalized communities; we must defend the health rights of women in our community. The current abortion initiation law signed by Governor Lee is sweeping. It does not even provide exceptions for rape, incest or the life of the woman. Doctors who provide life-saving care to women in these circumstances could face a felony trial and years in prison. This radical triggering law must not hold.
- We need to support public education and our public school teachers. Governor Lee has attacked public education at every turn – he has politicized our school boards; he stole control of local school boards; he underfunded our schools his entire term; he introduced voucher programs to fund public education; and more recently, he has failed to defend our hard-working teachers when his friends imply that our educators are “stupid.” I understand that strong public schools lift all communities, that strong public schools are how children and families change their lives for the better, that public schools can be the hubs of progress in their communities.
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What do you hear most from voters about what they want you to accomplish, if elected?
We need to legalize cannabis for medical and recreational purposes. We could use the hundreds of millions of dollars in tax revenue from this regulated market to support causes such as education, health and infrastructure. We should stop locking up mostly black and brown Tennesseans for petty cannabis offenses and use those law enforcement resources more appropriately. We should give our farmers a new crop to save the family farm. We should have access to cannabis for medical purposes – for cancer patients and chronic pain patients. States where cannabis is legalized also have fewer deaths from opioids.
What else do you want voters to know about you to help them make an informed decision on Election Day?
I believe, after visiting every corner of the state and all 95 counties, that we have so much more that unites us than divides us. We need to focus on issues like education, access to healthcare, high-speed internet – issues that unite us – so that we can thrive together. Some politicians see political interests in dividing us into regions (West, Middle or East), races or political affiliations. We must reject the politics of division and work together for a stronger Tennessee.
Tell us about a mentor or guide who made a difference in your life and what wisdom would you share with the community?
My mentor, Dr. Art Wheeler, was a critical care physician at Vanderbilt and one of the greatest teachers I’ve ever had. The most valuable lesson he taught me was how to stay calm and how to make logical decisions when death was at stake. I practice this every day in the hospital, and as Governor I will continue to use the lessons Dr. Wheeler taught me to make the tough but necessary decisions to lead Tennessee and improve the lives of our working families.
Will you commit to being civil in how you present yourself and how you interact with opponents and others? (Our definition of civility is being a good, active, honest and respectable citizen)
A fun question: What are one or two attractions (restaurants, parks, places, etc.) that visitors cannot miss if they come to your community?
Our greenways and parks in Nashville that allow you to ride and experience our community on the ground. As well as the Museum of African American Music in Nashville which highlights the accomplishments of many musicians and Nashville’s diverse musical culture.
Call Opinion and Engagement Director David Plazas at (615) 259-8063, email him at [email protected] or tweet him at @davidplazas.