MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) - Tennessee gubernatorial candidate Karl Dean said he supports making pre-kindergarten education universally available in the state as he took part in the first debate of the governor's race.

Dean, a Democrat, faced Republican businessman Bill Lee in the debate held at the University of Memphis in Shelby County, the state's largest by population. It was the first of three gubernatorial debates scheduled before the Nov. 6 election.

Dean has said he would like to see state-funded pre-K expanded. He mentioned his support of universal pre-K during the debate and said afterward that he would make it a priority if elected because "pre-K plays an enormous role in kids' success in schools."

Lee said after the debate that pre-K must be "quality and effective" before it is expanded and funded.

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