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COMMENTARY: Karl Dean Champions Education and Healthcare

THE TENNESSEE TRIBUNE — No stranger to politics, former Nashville Mayor Karl Dean plans to immediately seek to improve the expectations for students and help them become college ready and prepared for careers.



Karl Dean

By Ms. June

NASHVILLE, TN — No stranger to politics, former Nashville Mayor Karl Dean plans to immediately seek to improve the expectations for students and help them become college ready and prepared for careers. He indicated that “Tennessee needs to be a state that produces more college graduates.” Although many students may not be college material, they still need access to resources to prepare them to be ready-to-work so they can make a living and take care of their families.  

In light of Nashville having had 21 schools in the lowest five percent of all schools with low performance scores a few years ago, he is a huge advocate of literacy and strongly believes that every child should be able to read before age three. The educators have his full support as he suggests they need to be paid better. He has talked to STEM teachers in Memphis, teachers in small towns and rural districts and they all say they lose their good teachers to the private sector or other school systems and even the state of Georgia. Under his leadership as Mayor of Nashville, high school graduation rates were up while the drop-out rates were down.

He will keep education as a top priority for the state. Mayor Dean stated, “Pre-K and after school programming is important because it will keep the learning going for longer moments.” His four point educational plan includes before and after school, teacher pay and better resources for teachers.  He frequently hears that teachers are buying their own supplies and although commendable, districts needs to make more resources available. According to Dean, “It is important that we maintain a healthy rainy day fund because there will be dips in the economy and we shouldn’t have to do extreme cuts in the budget.” 

A bill recently passed in the Tennessee House approving a bill to ban sanctuary cities with a provision to require local authorities to comply with federal requests to hold undocumented immigrants.  That bill passed with a vote of 64-23.  According to Mayor Dean, “Immigration is a federal issue and many presidents worked on this issue and Congress has not been able to agree on a way to move the issue forward.” This then goes back to the states.  He indicated, “I feel passage of the bill was unfortunate as there are no sanctuary cities in Tennessee.” He thinks the bill was an effort to solve a problem that didn’t exist and therefore they created a problem in the process.  People in Nashville should feel they can go to the police when a crime has occurred or they have witnessed one and feel they will be safe.  The federal government should step-up and do their job. 

Mayor Dean feels there should be a strong public education campaign for all ages teaching about the dangers of the abuse of opioids and narcotics. A public education campaign similar to what has been done with smoking and drunk driving would be a good thing to do. He said, “We should get a handle on the doctors that are over-prescribing the medications and making those available to people.”  The crisis needs to involve adequate treatment facilities. Gov. Bill Haslam’s plan to address the opioid epidemic focuses on addiction prevention and rehabilitation for addicts.  About $25 million of the $30 million in the governor’s budget, if passed, will go toward treatment.  Mayor Dean indicated that, “This is a good start.” He further elaborated, “For example, in Nashville, there is Renewal House with a long waiting list that helps women with treatment who are addicted that are pregnant or have children.” “There are clearly people that are making money illegally by selling this drug, they’re creating untold pain and suffering, and doing criminal acts and this too, needs to be addressed.” 

He states that he feels the state legislature made an enormous mistake by not passing Medicaid expansion.  According to Mayor Dean, “the state lost over $4 billion dollars as a result of that decision, and we’ve seen thousands of people go without quality healthcare and over 10 hospitals have closed in rural areas while big hospitals struggle.”  This makes it much more difficult to attract businesses and attract people to live in the towns.  “We need to do the Medicaid expansion and see how the state of Tennessee can get their fair share of Medicaid dollars.”  Overall he said, “We need to look at healthcare with fresh eyes and try to find ways we can enhance the delivery mechanism and do more to control the costs.”

Former Mayor Karl Dean, is a lifelong public servant who puts the needs of the people first, has consistently advocated for better healthcare and education for the citizens of Tennessee and has a long track record of political success and leadership.

His campaign will host a “Get Out the Vote” Gospel Concert in Nashville at Lee Chapel AME this Sunday, November 4th at 6:00 p.m. 

Karl Dean for Governor will also host an “Election Day Eve” rally in Memphis co-hosted by Congressman Steve Cohen. 

For more information on both events, email

This article originally appeared in The Tennessee Tribune


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