Former Nashville mayor and Belmont professor Karl Dean is running for governor of Tennessee in 2018.
Dean was mayor of Nashville from 2007 to 2015 and currently teaches history and political science at Belmont.
Dean, who announced his candidacy in February, stated he will be running as a Democrat — meaning if he wins, he will be the first Democrat to do so in a statewide election since 2006.
“I think it’s clearly a challenge,” said Dean. “I think you start off recognizing that in terms of support and in terms of the strength and health of the party, the Republicans have an advantage.”
This challenge doesn’t worry Dean because he says his mayoral experience has prepared him for the job.
“I think most Tennesseans, especially for the governor’s position, look for someone who is in the middle of the road, someone who is a doer and someone who has executive experience that can move the state forward. I think my experience as mayor gives me that,” said Dean.
As far as his platform goes, Dean’s is heavy on both education and economic activity.
“I think investing in education and investing in our kids’ futures is absolutely the right thing to do,” said Dean. “In addition to education, I believe economic activity is key.”
Dean is now preparing to unite the state in his favor by traveling to several counties with a unifying message.
“The message of working for all parts of the state, the rural parts of the state, the small towns of the state and trying to move the state forward is the right message,” said Dean.
He knows the campaign will be a unique experience for him to learn more about Tennessee and the goals of its residents.
“I think one of the best things about a campaign is that you actually learn a lot,” said Dean. “If you listen and make an effort to understand what people care about, you can really learn a lot.”
As he prepares for 2018, he knows his time with Belmont will soon come to a close. He is, however, appreciative of Belmont and its support.
“My time with Belmont has been fantastic,” said Dean “I really enjoyed being here. I enjoyed the students. To me, it’s been a great transition.”
“Belmont has been wonderful to me,” said Dean.
Photo courtesy of the Office of Communications.