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Tennessee Governor Candidate Interviews: How Democrat Karl Dean Hopes To Cross Party Lines

Karl Dean campaigns at the Wilson County Fair.
Courtesy of Karl Dean for Governor
Karl Dean campaigns at the Wilson County Fair.

Hear the interview with Karl Dean.

Gubernatorial candidate Karl Dean is trying to present himself as a moderate. Not too business-centric for his base in the Democratic primaries, not too liberal to offend the Republican voters he'd need if he gets the nomination.

WPLN's Emily Siner spoke with the former mayor of Nashville about this delicate dance that would likely have to continue if he were elected governor.

Listen to the conversation above, or read interview highlights below. 

Interview Highlights

On his support for charter schools:

"I don't see charter schools playing a big role anywhere other than urban areas, and there, I don't see them as a total answer. I see them as part of the solution. They were created because our school systems were in serious trouble and we needed to have different options, and they served kids who are largely at risk, and they're public schools.

"I'm totally opposed to vouchers. I'm totally opposed to for-profit charter schools, and always have been, and always made those positions very clear. I don't see charter schools as a panacea, but they have been a tool that has been useful in Nashville and Memphis, and it's helped a lot of kids."

On the major public development projects he boosted as Nashville's mayor:

"If you look at what people would normally refer to as sort of the big ticket items, I guess that would be the convention center. I know obviously I'm biased, but I think that has been a huge success for our city. Things like the ballpark, keeping the Predators here in town, building the Ascend Amphitheater, have strengthened our city. ... We resulted in more expenditures in the public interest but the city certainly improved during that time."

On getting Republican voters to cross over to vote for a Democrat:

"I get how to create revenue, create more jobs, create opportunity for people. That has an appeal that goes across party lines. I mean, I had lots of folks who are Republicans vote for me for mayor. And I have lots of Republicans who are supporting me now. So that doesn't frighten me. That can be done."

Copyright 2018 WPLN News

Emily Siner is an enterprise reporter at WPLN. She has worked at the Los Angeles Times and NPR headquarters in Washington, D.C., and her written work was recently published in Slices Of Life, an anthology of literary feature writing. Born and raised in the Chicago area, she is a graduate from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Jason Moon Wilkins