Last we heard from Jerrod Weems, MSN, CRNA, of Morristown, Tenn., it was CRNA Week 2022 and his sights were set on getting elected to and serving on the Hamblen County Board of Education. The primary for the board was scheduled for May 3, with Jerrod running as a Republican against another Republican candidate. Jerrod’s campaign slogan: “A Fresh Vision for a Brighter Future.” There was no Democratic primary, so if Jerrod won the Republican primary and nobody petitioned to run as a Democrat in the August election, Jerrod would be seated on the board of education.
Jerrod comfortably won the primary, the results have been certified, and there will not be a Democratic opponent to beat in the August election. He is in.
“As CRNAs, it is our job to devise individual care plans, listen to our patients, and answer their questions,” said Jerrod, who was featured in the CRNA Story Applying CRNA Leadership Skills to Public Office (January 2022). “These experiences mold us into critical thinkers and leaders. We would be doing a disservice to not utilize these learned abilities to advocate for our profession and serve as elected officials.”
Now Jerrod will have his chance to be part of the next generation of healthcare professionals to serve as elected officials and play a greater role in government affairs—just as soon as he gets sworn in this September. In the meantime, he said he will begin preparing for his new responsibilities by studying state policy for school board members to try and get ahead.
Looking back on May 3, Jerrod recalls that even as his lead began to grow there was no room to take anything for granted. “About 7:30 p.m., I left to go to the Hamblen County courthouse where results would gradually be released by precincts. That is when the real nerves started to kick in,” he said. “The first results that I received were the early voting numbers from the courthouse. We won early voting by 30 votes; so that only made me more nervous. We then received the receipts from each voting machine via text message. Our lead gradually grew more and more, but I didn’t celebrate until every total was in. I was excited and relieved once we received the final tally.”
Jerrod is quick to give credit where credit is due. “I had amazing campaign teams at each of the three precinct sites who dedicated their day from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. working hard to get that final push out before voters went to the machines,” he said. “Their efforts really paid off.”
So what will be the “first order of business” for Jerrod Weems on the board of education? “My goal will be is to establish rapport with my fellow school board members and superintendent,” he said. “I also want to establish strong relationships with the educators and administrators of the five schools that I will represent. One of the central themes of my campaign was ‘Stronger Communication.’ I believe that I have ideas that can help improve that immediately.”
Jerrod is a firm believer that CRNAs are molded into strong leaders “both in our rigorous education and training prior to beginning our careers and then through the experience we gain once we are in practice.”
“I know not everyone has the desire for public service in the form of politics, but each of us can still play a role in supporting our fellow CRNAs who take that leap,” Jerrod said. “Together our profession has the ability to make tremendous strides at all levels of government.”