Karl Dean’s campaign has coined the phrase “it’s all connected.”  But how might the former law director of Nashville connect with the local GLBT community?  And does Dean best represent the gay voter?   

In a recent interview, Dean had this to say, “My intention is to be an inclusive Mayor and to celebrate diversity in Nashville while working to bring people together."

In fact, Dean claims to be the most “inclusive” candidate of all and the best candidate to represent our interests. 

Dean stated that all gay and lesbian Metro City employees will be able to openly work under his administration.  Furthermore, if elected Dean is willing to evaluate partner benefits for GLBT city employees.  He believes a study council must be pulled together to evaluate this option in order to be competitive. 

"Many larger corporations are providing these benefits to gay and lesbian employees.  It would certainly be on the table, as we want to follow best practices in this area and attract the brightest employees,” he said. 

In light of recent hate crimes in Warren County, Dean was asked about his commitment to ensuring that the GLBT community is safe.  In response he said, “Hate crimes have no place in Nashville.  As Mayor, I am totally committed to taking all steps to catch any individual that deals in hate.  This includes working with law enforcement.  I want all Nashvillians to feel safe and welcome in our city.”

Dean is also open to a resolution that would protect gays and lesbians from employment discrimination in Metro Government.  He was the legal director for Nashville the first time the issue came before the council.  Dean even evaluated the legality of the resolution and stated the resolution was, in fact, legal.  He affirmed this type of resolution would be “on the table” if it reappear before the Council.  Dean even stated he would be in favor of the resolution if it was both “practical and legal.” 

According to Dean, some of the major issues in this election are education, public safety, economic development and the environment.  First, he wants to improve public education and the drop-out rate arguing that this helps “attract new businesses to our area.” 

Dean also had this to say about public safety, “Nashville is celebrating 16-year lows in some crime statistics, but our rates of violent crime and crimes committed by our youth are still too high. I have proposed a public safety initiative to address these issues with both long- and short-term solutions.”

Stating that “it’s all connected,” Dean believes that economic development is tied to our public education system. 

He argued, “Economic growth means helping businesses that are already here to succeed and attracting new businesses. We do this by providing an educated workforce for companies to recruit and making common sense decisions about incentives.”

Finally, Dean wants to conserve the environment and the appeal of Nashville’s green spaces.  He stated, “If we want to continue to be a family-friendly city, we must protect and preserve our natural and built environments. Parks, green ways, walkable neighborhoods, short commute times and clean air and water are all needed for a healthy, thriving community – a community for families. The objectives in my environment initiative address these issues in a practical way.”

For more information on Karl Dean and his campaign, visit his Web site at www.karldean.info.

This article has been republished from Out & About Nashville, and was part of a series of first-person pieces written by the late Bobbi Williams.

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