Former Mayor of Nashville Karl Dean has announced his intent to run for Governor of Tennessee in 2018.
According to Dean’s representatives, he has planned to begin by meeting with resident’s in economically distressed counties and listen both their concerns and their ideas. This tour he has launched has been named Opportunity TN.
“Having managed a city through the Great Recession and a historic flood, I learned that problem-solving doesn’t begin with one person. And I also know there is no Democratic or Republican solution to problems. It begins with all of us working together and so that’s the foundation on which we’re going to build this campaign,” Dean said. “Tennessee is a great state that is poised to move forward if we focus on the right work. As Governor, I want to create opportunity for all Tennesseans, regardless of where they live, and that starts with education and jobs.”
Dean has been scheduled to visit 17 counties over the next few months. These counties were identified as economically distressed by the Tennessee Department of Economy and Community Development.
“A good job and a great education are not rural or urban issues, they are Tennessee issues,” Dean said. “We have to bring more economic opportunity to areas in Tennessee that need it most by creating an atmosphere that allows the private sector to grow. Our tax structure is a compelling selling point for companies looking to expand or relocate. A job in the private sector is better than any other government program. As governor, I will not rest until a good job, thriving business, and quality education are the standard.”
Reports stated Dean has appointed Memphis-based Calvin Anderson, retired chief of staff and senior vice president of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Tennessee, as the treasurer of his campaign.
The announcement also said Dean will run for governor as a Democrat. He served two-terms in a non-partisan role as Nashville’s mayor, which his representatives said had him working beyond party lines.
They added a sign of his bipartisan appeal was the 79% vote he received in his reelection campaign.
Dean’s campaign for governor has been expected to begin in full this summer. He's the first Democrat to enter the governor's race.
Reports stated Dean has planned to file paperwork on Monday to appoint a campaign manager that would allow him to begin fundraising.
The 61-year-old Dean was Nashville's mayor from 2007 to 2015.
No Democrat has been elected to statewide office in Tennessee since 2006. Dean said his candidacy "will be the hardest thing that I have ever done."
The counties included in the Opportunity TN tour are Bledsoe, Campbell, Claiborne, Cocke, Fentress, Grundy, Hancock, Hardeman, Haywood, Lake, Lauderdale, McNairy, Perry, Scott, Union, Van Buren, and Wayne.