The former mayor of Nashville says if he's elected governor, he would turn his economic development efforts far outside the city limits. Karl Dean spent an hour taking questions from Nashville journalists on Wednesday and began to flesh out his statewide campaign message.
There are two candidates to be Tennessee's governor traveling the state at this point, and Dean has been end-to-end talking to voters over the last few weeks. The Nashville Democrat says folks in West Tennessee and parts of Memphis feel a bit left out as the state's capital city boasts low unemployment and a booming real estate market.
"We need to really focus on the areas that have not had the same success that Nashville has had," Dean says. "People are happy for Nashville. They're proud of Nashville, but at the same time, they want something to happen in their communities too."
The state-owned industrial site in West Tennessee, for example, still hasn't landed a tenant. Dean says he would make that a priority.
"When you go to rural counties and the only job news has been companies closing or companies moving out, or if you go there and their biggest concern is that none of their kids are returning, that there are no jobs for them in the future, those are things we need to address," he says.
Widespread economic development is sure to be the focus of the other gubernatorial candidate actively campaigning. Republican Randy Boyd was most recently the state's economic development commissioner.