Karl Dean Wins First Gubernatorial Debate With Common-Sense Solutions, Experience and Unique Readiness to Lead
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (Oct. 2, 2018) — Gubernatorial candidate Karl Dean clearly showed at tonight’s first general election debate that his experience and common-sense ideas make him the only candidate who can do the job.
Throughout the hour-long debate, Dean showed the stark differences he has with his Republican opponent, Bill Lee, whose extremism, inexperience and eagerness to follow party-line arguments would hurt the people of Tennessee.
“I’ve done this before, and I can do it again,” said Dean, who led the city of Nashville through the Great Recession and the historic 2010 flood during his two terms as mayor from 2007 to 2015. “A governor can’t hide. A governor has to show up every day, deal with a lot of tough questions and find answers and solutions to those questions to keep Tennessee moving forward. I’m ready to do that from day one.
“I’m ready to bring people together. I’m ready to lead and serve so we can bring better schools, more jobs and more affordable healthcare to Tennessee. That’s what Tennesseans are looking for.”
Dean, who has spent his career in public service, detailed the numerous contrasts between his common-sense, results-oriented positions and Lee’s stances, which are hyper-partisan and out of touch with most Tennesseans’ views:
- Dean is for Medicaid expansion to provide health coverage to 300,000 people and stem the tide of rural hospital closures by using $1.4 billion in federal tax dollars that Tennesseans are already paying to help fund healthcare in 34 other states, including Arkansas, Kentucky and Virginia. Lee is adamantly opposed to Medicaid expansion.
- Dean is for increasing funding for our public schools, including increases to teacher pay and high-quality pre-kindergarten programs. Dean is against school vouchers, which would take money directly out of public schools – which need more state funding, not less – and transfer it to private schools. Lee supports vouchers.
- Dean is for job creation and workforce development. He helped the private sector create 70,000 jobs in Nashville, even during a recession and flood. Lee will have a steep learning curve managing a $38 billion state budget and 40,000 state employees.
- Dean is for providing public school districts with the funding they need for trained law enforcement and school resource officers to protect our students. Dean is against arming teachers, which would make our children less safe, while Lee supports arming teachers.
- Dean is for the Second Amendment and supports common-sense permit processes. Lee supports permitless carry, which some Republicans have labeled “constitutional carry,” a law that would allow gun owners to carry firearms anywhere and anytime without a permit.
Lee’s positions tend to follow Republican talking points, while Dean’s are based on his own experiences as the chief executive of a large metropolitan government. Dean’s common-sense proposals are designed to get things done for Tennesseans.
“Mr. Lee’s lack of experience is reflected in some of his policy positions,” Dean said. “He’s willing to let a lot of money leave the state and leave our schools. I’m not that interested in partisanship or ideology. What I care about is results.”
Dean also pointed out that outgoing Gov. Bill Haslam, a Republican whose views are often more aligned with Dean’s than Lee’s, has managed to keep Republican legislators from passing laws that would drive away economic development by denying the dignity of certain groups of people.
“The governor matters,” Dean said. “The governor sets the tone for what the state wants to be and what it can be, and we should be a state that opens its arms rather than closing its doors. We should be a state that treats every person with respect and dignity. If you have a governor who’s to the right of the legislature, that’s really problematic. I’m the mainstream candidate in this race.”
Dean’s top priorities as governor would be education, healthcare and jobs. He has accepted invitations to more than 20 debates and forums during the general election campaign but has often been the only candidate on stage. Dean looks forward to the two other debates Lee has agreed to next week in Kingsport and Nashville. It’s important that Tennesseans have every chance possible to hear how both candidates plan to address key issues for the state.