Settling in Nashville turned out to be a good decision for former mayor Karl Dean. After graduating from Vanderbilt Law School, he went on to work as a public defender, eventually winning election as Metro Davidson County's Public Defender. From there, he served two terms as Mayor, guiding Nashville through the Great Recession and the catastrophic flood of 2010. Now, Mayor Dean is running for governor, and he was gracious enough to stop by for a conversation. We discussed what it was like being a public defender and what impact it had on his time as Mayor. We also talked about what real criminal justice reform would mean for Tennessee. Mayor Dean is positioned to make criminal justice reform a major issue in next year's gubernatorial election.
Our interview with Mayor Dean kicks off a two-part series that will also feature former Memphis Mayor AC Wharton and highlights both mayors' unique career path. Like Mayor Dean, AC Wharton also served as public defender prior to becoming mayor. Watch for Mayor Wharton's interview in the next episode of The Permanent Record.