Karl Dean


Karl Dean says that if he’s elected Governor good jobs and high-quality public education would become Tennessee’s standard. Dean promises that Tennesseans can trust him based on his accomplishments during his 8 years as mayor of Nashville. 

Born in Sioux Falls, South Dakota and raised in Massachusetts as a child, Dean grew up in a small factory town. He says his humble roots inspired his belief that every Tennessean deserves economic opportunity; for him, these opportunities start with better education and jobs.  

“As governor, I will be prepared and focused on bringing plenty of good-paying jobs to communities across the state,” Dean said on Twitter.   

He expresses particular concern for the West Tennessee area. 

“One of the things I want to do as governor is bringing more economic opportunity to West Tennessee whether that’s supporting and getting the Megasite Project done or whether it’s working harder in Memphis to bring economic development,” Dean said, referring to the long-term Memphis pipeline project that would employ thousands of people.  

“I also think the poverty rate here in Memphis should be unacceptable to our state.” 

His ads affirm that as governor, his vision of prosperity would encompass the “‘Forgotten Tennessee’, where the jobs have left, the families have no health insurance, and students can’t get the skills they need to compete.” 

To rectify shortcomings he sees in statewide school funding Dean said, “We have to be aggressive about attracting good-paying jobs that will make our economy strong. That will give us the revenue we need to invest more in public education.” 

Dean also says teachers will reap the benefits of this funding. 

“I’m convinced that we have to pay our teachers more,” Dean adds. “everything that happens in education that’s important happens in the classroom. And the classroom works when you have a good teacher.” 

 Dean also advocates for the well-being of undocumented immigrant children. 

“While we need to keep our communities safe and follow the law, our policies must treat families trying to make a new life in America with dignity and respect,” said Dean. “Our government has a moral obligation to protect children who come here through no choice of their own.  Immigration reform out of Washington D.C. is long overdue and I hope Congress acts quickly to address it.” 

Dean’s plans for healthcare policy include a heavy focus on preventative care and medical accessibility. He will work with the state legislature, nonprofits, and healthcare professionals to provide services, especially in rural areas.  

Perhaps the largest element in Dean’s health care plan is Medicaid expansion.  

“The decision not to do the Medicaid expansion resulted in Tennessee losing over $4 billion…So to me, doing the Medicaid expansion is absolutely essential.  I think it’s one of the biggest mistakes the legislature has ever made.” 

When it comes to medical marijuana, Dean considers that an obvious choice. 

“My position on medical marijuana is that if it’s something that is going to provide people some relief from pain, offer them treatment. And if the medical community is supportive of this, then that is something we should do,” Dean says. 

Dean says he also wants to improve state parks. 

“One of my goals as governor would be to have Tennessee go back to having the best state parks in the country. [I want people] to be aware the beauty of our state is a big part of why our state works so well and why people want to live here and protect it.” 

To obtain the financial backing needed to invest in parks, education and other causes, Dean finds a strong tax base necessary for jurisdictions to invest in. 

“I think it is absolutely essential for any city, town, or county in Tennessee to have a strong tax base. . . The tax base is the key to success of any political unit.” 

Dean’s accomplishments during his two-term stretch as mayor include seeing Nashville through both the Great Recession and the floods of 2010.  He was also the driving force behind downtown Nashville’s new minor-league baseball Sounds Stadium, Music City Center and Ascend Amphitheater on the riverfront.   

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