The Issues

Education & Early Learning

Every day in the General Assembly, Andy Berke worked to improve public education – because it is the most important investment that we can make for our future prosperity and because every child has a right to an excellent education. That’s why Andy was a leader in efforts to raise standards and improve performance in our schools. That’s why he fought to hold our colleges and universities accountable for results and to make them more affordable for Tennessee families. And that’s why he passed the first law in our state to begin to track how parents and schools work together. 


While the Hamilton County School Board and County Commission operate and fund the public schools in Chattanooga, Andy understands that the City still has a role to play when it comes to investing in the next generation of Chattanoogans -- especially when it comes to early learning.  Research shows that early development is essential to a child's long-term success in school and life. As Mayor of Chattanooga, Andy has made early childhood education a priority, even establishing the first Office of Early Learning at the City of Chattanooga. The Office of Early Learning will work within the government and across the provider community to broaden and deepen early learning opportunities for Chattanooga families. Across platforms, the Office will work to create more opportunities for kids between the ages of 0 and 5 through opportunities like Baby University, an initiative launched by Mayor Berke in 2015, and early learning scholarships. In his second Mayoral term, Andy will continue to expand City government's role in ensuring our youngest residents have the tools they need to be successful adults. 

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Digital Equity

While Chattanooga is known as Gig City, we know that not all residents are reaping the benefits of our super high-speed fiber optic infrastructure. Over the last three years, Andy has worked hard to ensure digital equity through nationally recognized initiatives like Tech Goes Home, a free course designed to help residents develop skills and habits required for smart technology and Internet use, as well as the launch of NetBridge, a partnership with EPB and Hamilton County Department of Education to offer 100 Mbps for $27/month to families with public school students on free or reduced lunch. His diligent focus on digital equity will provide more of our citizens with the access and resources necessary to be successful in the 21st Century. 




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Economic Development & Growing the Middle Class

Growing the economy means investing in small businesses, ensuring citizens have the skills to compete, and strengthening infrastructure to support business recruitment, retention, and expansion. In the State Senate, Andy Berke worked to move unemployed workers off of the unemployment rolls and onto the work rolls. That’s why, with the support of Democrats and Republicans, Andy worked with Governor Haslam to pass the Tennessee Works program into law.  During his first term as Mayor, Andy built on our Chattanooga's great entrepreneurial spirit -- establishing the first Innovation District in a mid-sized city -- while continuing to attract companies from across the world like Plastic Omnium, Gestamp, and VW. And through incentives like the Growing Small Businesses (GSB) incentive, Andy has worked to grow businesses made right here in Chattanooga.  


Andy has worked hard to build more paths to the middle class and grow our local economy in all parts of the city. Chattanooga has seen remarkable economic momentum over the last few years but but the city's growing prosperity must reach more people. By focusing on neighborhoods that have been left out of our city's growth, we will build paths to the middle class for more of our citizens. Through initiatives like the Reinvesting in Neighborhoods program, which offers targeted economic development incentives to spur growth and create opportunity in distressed neighborhoods, the Berke administration is focused everyday on how to make life better for all Chattanoogans. 


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Public Safety

Safety is a prerequisite for the success of any community. That’s why Andy has relentlessly focused on making streets safer for all. From his first days in Nashville, he worked to stop offenders from repeating their mistakes when they return to our community. He fought to increase funding for programs designed to help law enforcement and community organizations work together to reduce shootings, punish violent offenders and create opportunities for young people who want to avoid the criminal path. 


From the moment he took office as Mayor of Chattanooga, Andy has promoted a community centered, multi-faceted public safety approach focused on prevention, effective prosecution, and proactive problem-solving. During their first term, the Berke Administration has established our area's only Family Justice Center and the Chattanooga Police Department (CPD) has made tremendous strides, taking an unprecedented number of illegal firearms off the street and pushing Chattanooga's property crime rate to a five year low. An upcoming Real Time Intelligence Center and increased investments in technology will allow our officers to do even more. 

While we have seen gains in public safety, the work is not done. Through strong partnerships with law enforcement agencies throughout the area as well as effective leadership at CPD, the City will continue to implement innovative and effective policing strategies, prevention programs for our youth, strong community relationships, and high-quality emergency response.



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Government Accountability

Tax dollars are our investment in the community, and it is incumbent on the stewards of government to make sure they are spent wisely. For five consecutive years, Andy voted for balanced budgets. He led the effort to hold private education contractors receiving millions in government funding accountable for their results and his EFFECTS bill required state government to focus on what state government was getting for taxpayer dollars.

During his first week as Mayor, Andy restructured City government to reflect the priorities of Chattanoogans. Since then, the City of Chattanooga has strived each day to operate a high-performing government by embracing Budgeting for Outcomes, ensuring the long-term financial health of the City through successfully reforming an underfunded pension, using each dollar effectively, and providing excellent customer service. And Andy has worked diligently to ensure the City provides the very best service at the very best value to citizens - all without a single tax increase.  

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Open & Inclusive Government

Technology has created unprecedented opportunities for government to collect data and to report information publicly. Through implementation of several open data initiatives, including signing the City's first Open Data Policy, launching a user-friendly open data portal, and making open records requests easy to file through a online platform, Andy has worked to ensure public information is more easily accessible online and through citizen requests.  


Andy also understands that civic engagement is vital to our government and our community. It strengthens public decisions and contributes to a vibrant and inclusive city. During his time in the state legislature, he regularly held public forums and attended neighborhood meetings and as Mayor, Andy has continued this commitment. From his monthly Burgers with Berke public lunches and regularly scheduled Get Fit group outings to his frequent use of social media to engage citizens, Andy demonstrates that civic engagement is a key principle of public service.

In addition, City government can not and should not go it alone. Whether it's addressing pension reform, exploring the issues faced by minority-owned businesses, or establishing a citizen-led coalition to help keep our streets safe, Andy recognizes that tapping into the diverse experiences and backgrounds of community members is the best way to solve tough community problems.



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© 2012 Andy Berke. All Rights Reserved.

Paid for by Berke for Mayor, Cari Henderson, Treasurer Contact Andy