By Arthur Franklin
NASHVILLE, TN — Karl Dean took over the reins of Metro Nashville Davidson County in the middle of what would become the great recession (2008). For the first time in Metro history, the city had less tax revenue than the previous year to make Metro government work. “It was probably the most significant thing that happened in my first term,” Dean recalled. “We made the decision that we were going to manage within our own resources and make cuts. We weren’t going to balance our budgets by unbalancing the budgets of families and businesses. And we did it.”
Then in May 2010, record rain brought historic flooding killing 11 people, causing more than 42 billion in damage to homes, buildings and infrastructure further complicating the city’s financial crisis. He helped engineer buyout plans for flood-prone properties and more importantly helped put Nashville back on course. He further helped the city come together in the sense of community pride with everyone helping thy neighbor in need.
It was during these times that Mayor Dean showed what type of leader he is. In a mega-disaster, preparation is indispensable there is no substitution for preparation. One must keep the public informed what the reality is of such disaster, what and how one is trying to go about it. Also one must have a good team and one must trust your team. During this disaster, the Mayor stepped up big, the first responders, community, coordination of all levels of government aided in the recovery of the city of Nashville. All of Nashville played an integral part in its recovery.
Each leader aspires to respect different views, analyze problems, and identify the best solutions – not based on loyalty to political party, but rather based on what is good and right and in the best interest of the state as a whole.
Tennessee has been blessed with back to back good governance at the state level. Both of the past two Governors started their political careers as Mayor(s) of their respective cities (Nashville and Knoxville). Their transition to Governor was made easier because of their successes as Mayor.
Karl Dean was a successful Mayor of Nashville, who survived two major crises. He understands what it takes to be a successful CEO of a city and he is best suited to take that success to the state level. Dean has the experience of bringing economic vibrancy to Nashville and will bring that experience to the state of Tennessee. He has stated that he will also concentrate to bring vitality to the rural parts of the state. He further wants to bring greater funding for teacher pay and if that is a top priority it can be done.
Dean is practical and pragmatic and can get things done.