BJU alumni run for political office in 2022

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BJU alumni run for political office in 2022

Morgan speaks in the South Carolina State House in Columbia in 2020.
Photo: Submitted by Adam Morgan

Four people graduated from Bob Jones University in four different years with four different majors. They now live in three different states. However, these two men and two women have one thing in common: they are running for political office in their home states this year.

Greg Bledsoe, a 1995 BJU graduate, is running for lieutenant governor of Arkansas. Bledsoe graduated from BJU with a premed/predent major before earning degrees from the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Among other achievements, Bledsoe has served as a consultant for the United States Secret Service and personal doctor for President Bill Clinton. He became the surgeon general of Arkansas in 2015, appointed by Gov. Asa Hutchinson. Bledsoe spoke at a BJU Presidential Leadership Series event last October.

Ellen Weaver, who graduated from BJU in 2001 with a degree in political science and government, is running for South Carolina Superintendent of Education. Weaver said she is campaigning to open more opportunities for students. “I know first-hand that a great education is the front door of the American Dream and I believe that we have a responsibility to throw open this door of opportunity for every child in South Carolina,” Weaver said on her campaign website.

After graduating from BJU, Weaver worked with former South Carolina Sen. Jim DeMint for 12 years during his time in office. In 2013, she helped launch the Palmetto Promise Institute, a free-market public policy research and solutions organization, of which she is the current president and CEO.

Geels, pictured with her husband Bryan Geels, will compete against Robert Thomas, a real estate appraiser, in the May 17 Republican primary.
Photo: Submitted by Courtney Geels

For the last six years, Weaver has served on the South Carolina Education Oversight Committee (EOC), an independent, nonpartisan group of educators, businesspeople and elected officials appointed by the legislature and governor. EOC members evaluate the state’s educational practices and explore ways to improve opportunities for students in South Carolina.

Courtney Geels, a 2012 nursing graduate, is running for the North Carolina Fourth Congressional District. Geels has worked as a nurse in various positions for the past decade. She decided to run for office in 2020, following the presidential election results and government vaccine mandates she viewed as overreaching.

“My favorite aspect of nursing is the patient advocate role,” Geels said. “That same passion of wanting to advocate for my family, my community and my country is what has pushed me to run for office.”  

Geels decided to run a campaign focusing on truth, justice and unity. “As Christians, … we should all want justice, by definition,” Geels said. “But justice doesn’t look like the way the media is portraying it.”

She encouraged Christians to get involved in government because they have more opportunities to do so than many Christians throughout history and around the world today. “If we as Christians are not involved, then it’s going to be people who are not Christians telling us what to,” Geels said.

Adam Morgan, who graduated from BJU in 2011 with a liberal arts degree, is running for reelection in the 20th district of the South Carolina House of Representatives, where he has served since 2018. The previous representative, Daniel Hamilton, who also graduated from BJU in 1998, ran for Congress in 2018, leaving his seat open in the South Carolina House.

Morgan decided to run for office at 27 years old instead of waiting until his retirement years like many politicians. “Why not [run for office] when you’re young and have energy and excitement and even bring a different perspective on issues?” he said. Within two days of his idea, Morgan had launched his campaign.

However, Morgan’s interest in politics was not a spontaneous whim. He became interested in politics in high school and worked on several political campaigns during his time at BJU. After graduating, Morgan earned a Juris Doctor degree from the University of South Carolina School of Law. He said law school turned out to be much easier than he expected because of the high-quality preparation he received at BJU. Morgan is also a composer and the current president of Majesty Music.

Morgan encouraged Christians to get more involved in politics as an application of biblical stewardship. “I am what people think of as the government,” he said. “But the truth is, the constituents that call me, the people that lobby me, the people that I represent [are] as much a part of it as I am. I’m just speaking for them.”

Morgan explained his conviction that Christians in the U.S., as citizens of a representative government, should apply the Bible’s commands to kings and judges to their own political involvement. “Promote righteousness, protect the weak, provide justice for the poor and the downtrodden, … establish law and punish wrongdoing and expose evil—all of those … are really things [that] in the 21st century context of the United States [are] a requirement or an obligation for all of us, since we are part of the government, Morgan said.