Former Nashville Mayor Karl Dean would like to be the next Governor of Tennessee.
Dean spoke at the DeKalb County Democratic Party Mass Meeting Saturday at the high school.
During his remarks, Dean said he has three areas he is focusing on in his campaign: public education, health care and economic development.
"This is a great state. We have so much going for us. We are a state that has sound fiscal management. We are a state that has low taxes. We have a good business climate. We have a lot of things that make us tremendously appealing and I really believe that Tennessee’s best days are still ahead of us but we have to take care of the basics and that is health care, economic opportunity, and public education,” said Dean.
“The reason I am running for Governor is I am convinced that the people of Tennessee want a pragmatic, common sense, get it done Governor who is not an Idealog but someone who is going to focus on the issues that really matter to people and get the job done in a way that moves our state forward,” he continued.
“I believe public education is the overriding issue for the state. It is the issue that will move our state forward, improve the lives of our young people, strengthen our economy, and make us a safer and healthier state. We need to be a state that produces more college graduates but at the same time we have to recognize that we need to be a state for the young people who choose not to get a four year degree but have the opportunity to get the vocational, technical, and apprenticeship training where they can get a job and raise a family. We need to pay teachers more. We need to make sure that all parts of the state can pay their teachers more so they can keep them. We need to be able to attract the best teachers and keep the best,” he said.
“I am a big believer in having a strong private sector that is creating jobs and opportunities where people can get ahead and live the American dream. When you have a strong economy and private sector, you are creating the tax base that allows you to do the investments you need to make in education, health care and other areas that makes Tennessee have a higher quality of life. Part of that is doing rural broadband and having great schools, but we have to take care of the communities that have not had the same economic success as other parts of the state. We can’t leave anyone behind,” Dean said.
“Health care is the issue you hear the most about around the state. The worst mistake our state legislature has made in decades was the decision not to do the Medicaid expansion. By doing Medicaid expansion our state would have received over the past few years somewhere between $3.5 and $4 billion dollars. That’s money that would have given access to health care to people of low incomes, disabilities, pre existing conditions, changing jobs, and people who are aging. We should have done the Medicaid expansion and done what is right for the people. Around this state in rural areas largely, ten of our hospitals have closed. We are second only to Texas in the number of hospital closures. When your hospital closes and you are a small town its that much harder to keep people in your community, to attract new people, and to attract new business. The next Governor has to be a champion for this state to get its fair share of Medicaid dollars to make sure our people have access to health care and that we are a viable state in terms of attracting people and keeping people,” said Dean.
Having been mayor of Nashville, Dean said he can bring that executive experience to the office of Governor in managing state government just as the last two Governors have done, Bill Haslam and Phil Bredesen .
“When you run for mayor, you don’t run in a partisan race. You have to get Democrats, Republicans, and Independents to support you. And when you do the job, you don’t do it along party lines. You do it based on what’s best for people. That’s what we did as Mayor of Nashville,” said Dean.