Democrat Jim Kyle announces bid for governor

Reported by Kontji Anthony - bio | email | Twitter | Facebook

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV/AP) - State Senate Minority Leader Jim Kyle has formally joined the crowded field of Democrats seeking to become Tennessee's next governor.

"I believe that a person from Memphis can stand out," Kyle said in his Tuesday announcement on the campus of the University of Memphis. "People will judge us for what we say we are for.  What I am for is making higher education the economic engine it needs to be for job creation."

Kyle said his platform will emphasize improving graduation rates at the state's colleges and universities.

Kyle said his plan involves freezing tuition rates for students throughout their entire college careers. He also wants to create a scholarship program to persuade people who left school within a year of graduating to return to school and complete their degrees.

Though Kyle voted in favor of an income tax a decade ago, he said Governor Phil Bredesen changed his mind, and he would veto an income tax if it ever made its way to his desk as governor.

Kyle has served in the state Senate since 1983. He is joining a Democratic field that includes Jackson businessman Mike McWherter, Sen. Roy Herron of Dresden, former House Majority Leader Kim McMillan of Clarksville and Nashville businessman Ward Cammack.

After the announcement, Senator Kyle spent the rest of the afternoon campaigning around Memphis.

On the Net:

Kyle for Governor:

Copyright 2009 WMC-TV. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.  The AP contributed to this story.