ETSU professor and OB/GYN Residency Program Director Dr. Martin E. Olsen is running for the United States Congress. He hopes to represent Tennessee’s first congressional district in the House of Representatives.

(Photograph contributed / Facebook – Marty Olsen for Congress)

Dr. Olsen must first compete against fellow candidates in the primary elections set for Aug. 2. Should he win the primaries, Dr. Olsen will be running against incumbent Republican Representative Phil Roe in the Nov. 8 general election.

Tennessee’s first congressional district fully covers the counties of Carter, Cocke, Greene, Hamblen, Hancock, Hawkins, Johnson, Sullivan, Unicoi and Washington. The first congressional district also comprises parts of Jefferson and Sevier counties; residents of the two aforementioned counties may call their election commission or use online resources to determine if they live within the first congressional district.

“I was inspired to run when Congress started discussing the repeal of the Affordable Care Act,” Olsen said. “The thought of 22 million people losing their health insurance made me feel like I needed to stand up.”

“I support the principle of Responsible Change – planned, incremental changes – not the ‘blow things up and hope for the best’ approach,” Olsen continued. “I want to make small changes, study them, and make new plans for change based upon what worked last time.”

Olsen wishes to reign in legislative chaos, improve U.S. relations and look out for the future. His platform revolves around improving the public welfare.

“I believe public education is the pillar of the American educational experience,” Olsen said. “Some of the plans out there now – such as the voucher program – weaken public schools, and we can’t accept that.

“It is also very important to preserve the environment,” he continued. “We should protect nature not only to preserve its beauty for our children, but also to ensure it remains a major economic driver in our region. This district touches the Smoky Mountain National Park and is home to part of the Appalachian Trail. The environment is one of this area’s economic backbones.”

Olsen is a native Appalachian. He was born in Morgantown, West Virginia. For the past 25 years, Olsen and his family have lived in Johnson City. He has a deep fondness for the Appalachian Mountains and makes hobbies out of photographing and biking through the local areas.

Since his arrival in Johnson City a quarter of a century ago, Olsen has worked as an OB/GYN and a medical instructor. In addition to his local service, he has made several trips to Iraq. While there, Olsen and colleagues taught Iraqi physicians various techniques aimed at reducing the rate at which mothers die during and due to childbirth.

As far as healthcare goes, Olsen said, “Many people are starting to recognize that our debt is getting worse…They don’t want their neighbors to suffer from the loss of healthcare. I think there are a lot of people reevaluating how they’ve always voted.”

Olsen’s platform and other details can be found on his campaign website:

Those who wish to volunteer for Olsen’s campaign may fill out a form on the aforementioned website. Alternatively, prospective volunteers may contact volunteer coordinator Lori Love at