The Tennessee Press Association held a gubernatorial debate at the Nashville Public Library on Feb. 1 which featured five of the seven candidates running for Governor of Tennessee.
The candidates present included Bill Lee (R), Randy Boyd (R), Kay White (D), Craig Fitzhugh (D) and Karl Dean (D). Those not present included Speaker of the House Beth Harwell (R), who sent her regrets for being unable to attend due to being in session with the Tennessee State Legislature and Congresswoman Diane Black (R).
Each candidate was given the opportunity to give an introduction, answer a series of questions and give a closing statement. The topics discussed varied from government transparency and penal reform to education and infrastructure.
With both sides of the aisle present, a wide variety of opinions and plans were presented explaining platforms and guiding principles each candidate held.
Lee explained his beliefs of government transparency to taxpayers and plans to make open records more easily accessible through digitizing.
White advocated for skills based education in high school and tax breaks for companies willing to hire non-violent criminals.
Craig spoke on the recent climb Tennessee has made in national student performance rankings and the importance of placing more value on teachers in the state by offering better and more competitive salaries.
Dean discussed the importance of improving state infrastructure, and how better roads and mass transit would create more opportunities for Tennesseans and increase tourist dollars coming into the state.
Boyd explained that people are best served when government is most transparent and elaborated on the need to expand sunshine laws in the state.
From a homemaker and college drop out to the former mayor of the city of Nashville, a variety of backgrounds were presented on stage. Each candidate spoke on their personal and professional lives and argued why their unique experience made them the best candidate.
The election will be held Tuesday, Nov. 6 of this year.