Tennessee Voices, Episode 280: Jason Martin, physician, Democratic candidate for governor

The Tennessee Voices podcast brings readers conversations with authors of insightful and compelling guest columns.

David Plazas is the director of opinion and engagement for the USA TODAY Network Tennessee.

As a physician, Jason Martin has treated many COVID-19 patients since the pandemic emerged in Tennessee in 2020.

He has seen how medications and techniques have evolved. While the coronavirus appears to be headed into an endemic stage, COVID is still present and infectious, and the death toll is more than 26,000 Tennesseans to date.

Martin criticizes Gov. Bill Lee’s leadership during COVID and that, along with advocacy for rural areas that lost their hospitals and underserved urban areas, led him to run for governor in the Democratic primary. He is one of three candidates vying for the nomination in the Aug. 4 primary, seeking to challenge Lee in the Nov. 8 general election.

Jason Martin, a Nashville physician and vocal critic of the state's response to the COVID-19 pandemic, has officially announced his bid for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination in 2022, is pictured in his home on Friday, Aug. 20, 2021, in Nashville, Tenn.

“We need Medicaid expansion yesterday,” he told me on this episode of the Tennessee Voices video podcast.

We talked about health care, education funding and how he thinks a Democrat can win the governorship in a deeply red state.

Martin describes himself as a consensus builder and peacemaker, who is concerned about “kitchen table” issues.

Martin, who grew up in Southern Alabama, received his medical degree in his home state before doing a residency at Vanderbilt and working at Meharry Medical College. 

He participated in the Moderna COVID vaccine trial.

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