Andy Berke

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Andy Berke
Andy Berke 2013.jpg
73rd Mayor of Chattanooga
Assumed office
April 15, 2013
Preceded by Ron Littlefield
Member of the Tennessee Senate
from the 10th district
In office
2007–2012
Preceded by Ward Crutchfield
Succeeded by Todd Gardenhire
Personal details
Born Andrew Lawrence Berke
(1968-03-31) March 31, 1968 (age 48)
Chattanooga, Tennessee
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Monique Prado
Residence Chattanooga, Tennessee
Alma mater

Baylor School
Stanford University

University of Chicago Law School
Profession Attorney
Religion Jewish[1]

Andrew Lawrence Berke (born March 31, 1968) is an American attorney and Tennessee politician. He is the current Mayor of Chattanooga. He is a member of the Democratic Party and represented Hamilton and Marion counties in the 10th District as state senator from 2007 to 2012. On March 5, 2013, Andy Berke became Chattanooga's Mayor Elect, and was inaugurated on April 15, 2013.[2]

Berke was born in Chattanooga, Tennessee, to Marvin and Karen Berke. He has one sister, Julie. He attended Rivermont Elementary, the Baylor School in Chattanooga, where he was a standout tennis player, and Stanford University, where he met his wife, Monique. Mayor Berke currently lives in Chattanooga with his wife and their two daughters, Hannah and Orly.

Education and career[edit]

After graduating from Baylor School, a Chattanooga boarding high school, Andy attended Stanford University. After graduating from Stanford with honors, Berke worked as a legislative assistant for U.S. Congressman Bart Gordon.

Following his graduation from the University of Chicago Law School, he worked as a law clerk for Judge Deanell Reece Tacha of the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit in Lawrence, Kansas. During this time he also taught at the University of Kansas School of Law as an adjunct professor.

Berke returned home to Chattanooga and was admitted to the Tennessee Bar in 1994. He joined his family law practice, Berke, Berke, and Berke in Chattanooga, which was founded in 1934 by his grandfather, the late Harry Berke.

Public office[edit]

Berke entered a 2007 special election to replace longtime state senator Ward Crutchfield and defeated Republican Oscar Brock, son of former U.S. Senator Bill Brock, with 63% to Brock's 37%. He was sworn into the Tennessee Senate on November 21, 2007. During the 105th General Assembly, Berke served as the secretary of the Senate Education Committee and as a member of the Senate Transportation Committee.[citation needed]

2008 Re-election[edit]

Berke won re-election on November 4, 2008, by defeating Republican Oscar Brock. He received over 70% of the vote. As a member of the 106th General Assembly, Senator Berke served as the secretary of the Senate Education Committee and as a member of the Senate Transportation committee. On November 24, 2008, Senator Berke was elected as the Secretary/Treasurer of the Senate Democratic Caucus.[citation needed]

2012–2013 Chattanooga City Mayoral campaign[edit]

On May 8, 2012 Berke officially announced he was running for Mayor of Chattanooga, Tennessee.[3] Berke became Chattanooga's Mayor Elect on March 5, 2013, after receiving 72% of the vote. He was inaugurated as Chattanooga Mayor on April 15, 2013.[2]

2013 – 2017 First Mayoral Term[edit]

Within the first month of taking office, Berke reorganized city government, merging the Departments of Parks and Recreation and Human Services into a new Department of Youth and Family Development, the Departments of Neighborhood Services and Community Development into a new Department of Economic and Community Development, eliminating the Department of Education, Arts, and Culture, and creating a new Department of Transportation to handle Transportation matters once handled by the Department of Public Works.[4] Within his first year as Mayor, Berke formed a Task Force to reform the City of Chattanooga Police and Fire Pension and overhauled the Pension Plan, saving taxpayers over $227 million while preserving benefits for first responders.[5]

During Berke's first term, Chattanooga's unemployment rate fell from a June 2011 high of 9.5% to 4.1% in May 2016, a nine-year low, and the Chattanooga created over 8,000 new jobs.[6] In July 14, 2014, Berke joined other local and state officials to announce the Volkswagen Crossblue would be manufactured in Chattanooga, resulting in over 2,000 new jobs for residents.[7] In addition to a boom of manufacturing jobs, Chattanooga's 10 Gigabit fiber optic infrastructure helped fuel wage growth,[8] resulting in the third fastest wage growth in the country for a medium-sized metro area.[9]

On January 14, 2015, Berke established an Innovation District, making Chattanooga the first mid-sized city with an innovation district.[10] Since that time, Chattanooga's Innovation District has been a catalyst for change in the city's downtown, resulting in $700 million in new retail, office and residential space, and 868 new business licenses issued in 2016 alone.[11]

Under Berke, Chattanooga has received national recognition for its work in digital equity.[12] A new program called Tech Goes Home, modeled after an award-winning program in Boston, ensures equal access to technology by offering technology training, skills, and access to families.[13] In his 2015 State of the City Address, Berke also announced a new partnership with Chattanooga's Electric Power Board (EPB) to offer discounted high-speed internet access to students on free and reduced lunch through a program called NetBridge.[14]

Six months after the launch of the Innovation District, four Marines and a sailor were killed during a terror-inspired attack in Chattanooga. In the hours to follow, Berke called the incident a "nightmare for the city of Chattanooga" and pledged all available resources to aid the FBI in its investigation.[15] Because of his leadership during and following the attack, Berke was invited to lead the U.S. delegation at the first annual Strong Cities Network Global Summit held in Antalya, Turkey, on May 11, 2016.[16]

The creation of an Innovation District and his response to the July 16 attack were both cited as factors in Berke's recognition as American City & County's 2015 Municipal Leader of the Year.[17] On December 15, 2015, Berke was recognized by OZY.com as a Rising Star, citing Chattanooga's technology boom as the major factor in the city's turnaround.[18]

In 2016, Berke announced new efforts to combat violence including investments in public safety technology and a new Citizen Safety Coalition, a new Office of Early learning and a partnership with United Way to offer early learning scholarships, and a Family Friendly Workplace challenge to get more businesses to adopt policies making their business more friendly for working parents.[19] Berke announced new investments in neighborhoods in 2016 including $6 million for a new Youth and Family Development center in Avondale,[20] $887,000 for a new park at the former Charles A Bell School site in Alton Park, $1.5 million for the cleanup of the old Dixie Yarn Mill in Lupton City,[21] completed $2 million in upgrades of the Wilcox Tunnel in East Chattanooga, and the construction of a new Miller Park District as the gateway to the MLK Neighborhood.[22]

2016 - 2017 Mayoral Re-Election Campaign[edit]

On September 6, 2016, Mayor Berke announced his bid for re-election to a second to term as Chattanooga Mayor. Berke's campaign announcement focused on combating gun violence, enhancing workforce development, and expanding the city's focus on early childhood education. Berke is opposed by District 4 City Councilman Larry Grohn, a member of the Chattanooga Tea Party, former District 3 City Councilman and City Sustainability Director under the Littlefield Administration, David Crockett, and housing developer, Chris Long.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Sher, Andy (March 21, 2009). "Bunch's 'Nazi' remark draws flak". Times Free Press. Retrieved May 24, 2012. 
  2. ^ a b http://www.timesfreepress.com/news/2013/mar/06/andy-berke-is-new-chattanooga-mayor/?local
  3. ^ Hightower, Cliff (May 8, 2012). "Chattanooga: Andy Berke makes mayoral run official". Times Free Press. Retrieved May 24, 2012. 
  4. ^ "City Council approves Berke's proposals for reorganizing city government". Nooga.com. Retrieved 2017-02-09. 
  5. ^ "Pension proposal would save $227 million". Nooga.com. Retrieved 2017-02-09. 
  6. ^ "Growing Jobs in Chattanooga: An Economic Update". Connect with Chattanooga. 2017-01-11. Retrieved 2017-02-09. 
  7. ^ Stalvey, Derrall. "UPDATE: VW to build new SUV in Scenic City, add 2,000 new jobs". Retrieved August 23, 2016. 
  8. ^ "Chattanooga mayor: Gigabit speed internet helped revive city". Retrieved August 23, 2016. 
  9. ^ "Chattanooga wage growth outpaces most cities". Retrieved August 23, 2016. 
  10. ^ "Innovation gets home of its own in special downtown Chattanooga district". Retrieved August 23, 2016. 
  11. ^ Schneider, Keith (August 16, 2016). "Chattanooga's Innovation District Beckons to Young Entrepreneurs". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved August 23, 2016. 
  12. ^ "Chattanooga's Focus on Digital Inclusion & Economic Development | CoSN". www.cosn.org. Retrieved 2017-02-09. 
  13. ^ "Home | Tech Goes Home Chattanooga". techgoeshomecha.org. Retrieved 2017-02-09. 
  14. ^ "EPB starts signing up students, families for discounted Internet service". timesfreepress.com. Retrieved 2017-02-09. 
  15. ^ "4 Marines killed in attacks on Chattanooga military facilities". Retrieved August 23, 2016. 
  16. ^ "Mayor Berke Discusses Chattanooga Terrorist Attack In Speech At Strong Cities Network Global Summit". Retrieved August 23, 2016. 
  17. ^ "From Chattanooga to the Moon". americancityandcounty.com. Retrieved August 23, 2016. 
  18. ^ Fouriezos, Nick. "This Man Is Revitalizing His City ... With the Internet. And Now He May Become Governor.". Retrieved August 23, 2016. 
  19. ^ "Mayor commits $1 million for camera system to cut gang violence in Chattanooga". timesfreepress.com. Retrieved 2017-02-09. 
  20. ^ "New Avondale Youth & Family Center; $6 Million Capital Project will Strengthen East Chattanooga Area". www.andyberke.com. Retrieved 2017-02-09. 
  21. ^ "Chattanooga to spend $1.5 million in cleanup of old Lupton City mill site". timesfreepress.com. Retrieved 2017-02-09. 
  22. ^ "Mayor wants revamp of downtown Chattanooga's Miller Park to be a 'home run' [video]". timesfreepress.com. Retrieved 2017-02-09. 

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Ron Littlefield
Mayor of Chattanooga
2013 – Present
Succeeded by
Incumbent