ELIZABETHTON — Dr. Jason Martin, Tennessee’s Democratic candidate for governor in the November election paid a visit to Elizabethton on Monday afternoon to speak to supporters at the Carter County Courthouse and then took a stroll from the courthouse through the downtown parts of town and stopped at the Bonnie Kate Theater for a progress report on the renovation of that 1926-era movie theater.
Kate Craig, who is running against incumbent Rusty Crowe in the 3rd Senate District, also addressed the audience.
Martin said running for governor was “an unlikely place to find myself.” He said he is a critical care doctor, which means he is responsible for attending to the sickest patients in the hospital. He said he not only saw the sickest patients, but also those uninsured patients “who chose to die rather than the break their family with huge medical bills.”
Martin said the lack of leadership by state politicians is hurting people. He said Gov. Bill Lee has failed to make sure that all Tennesseans are healthy. He also said that Tennessee’s citizens paid their fair share to fund Medicaid but the governor refuses to send the money back to the communities.
“Medicaid expansion is not just something we have already paid for, but is necessary to make sure our state can thrive. We could cover as many as 400,000 more working Tennesseans by fully participating in the program, and we need to do that to keep our workforce healthy and productive. Getting back our hard-earned Medicaid dollars would help reestablish some of our many closed hospitals, emergency rooms and clinics.
“We cannot continue to lead the nation in per capita hospital closures and medical bankruptcies. We must do better to create a healthy and prosperous Tennessee.”
He said Tennessee leads the nation in medical bankruptcies and “the federal government is trying to give us $1 billion a year for health care.”
Martin also said he does not believe “the state should come between a woman, her doctor and her God” on abortion matters.
Martin said his medical experience also causes him to support the legalization of cannabis.
He said it is the right medicine to offer some people and that it would not only provide an additional $400 million in tax revenue but it would give farmers a new option to save the family farm.