Gubernatorial candidates Karl Dean, Bill Lee discuss medical marijuana, police oversight in final debate

Photo courtesy of Belmont University

Gubernatorial candidates Karl Dean and Bill Lee completed what had mostly remained a constructive set of debates with their third and final debate at Belmont University on Friday night.

The two candidates discussed a variety of new issues ranging from legalizing medicinal marijuana and sports betting to allowing Tennessee Bureau of Investigation oversight in investigating officer-involved shootings in Tennessee.

Lee said that he supported TBI investigations for officer-involved shootings under the circumstance that there was a fatality.

Dean also said that he was in support of having the TBI investigate officer-involved shootings.

The candidates were also given the opportunity to restate and expand upon their plans for addressing topics discussed at previous debates, including their platforms on education and Medicaid expansion.

“People are hurting now,” Dean said while pitching his plans to expand Medicaid in Tennessee.

Lee disagreed with Dean’s proposition to expand Medicaid, calling the current system “broken.”

“(We need to) fix a broken system, not expand a broken system,” Lee said.

Other issues discussed included plans to address immigration, sales tax loopholes and the “political divide” in the state. When asked if they would be willing to appoint candidates from the opposite party to their cabinet if elected, both Lee and Dean agreed that they would consider it.

Lee said that he would appoint the “most highly qualified people” to his cabinet regardless of political affiliation. Dean agreed, saying that the “key to politics is balance.”

The midterm elections will take place on Nov. 6, 2018.

To contact news Editor Caleb Revill, email

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