Middle Tennessee Mayors Caucus
The Middle Tennessee Mayors Caucus represents 52 governments spanning 13 counties
Helping a coalition of local government leaders influence major transportation legislation
In an effort to enhance Tennessee’s roads and highways, Governor Bill Haslam proposed the Improving Manufacturing, Public Roads and Opportunities for a Vibrant Economy (IMPROVE) Act. The legislation increased taxes on gasoline and diesel fuel to support hundreds of critical road projects statewide. Local mayors in the Middle Tennessee region recognized an important opportunity to expand the legislation to include a “local option” that would enable referendums on public transit projects.
“Stones River Group’s work was essential to making the voice of our mayors heard in the legislature. They helped make our public policy needs part of the debate and ultimately the final bill.”
– Williamson County Mayor Rogers Anderson
Representing the Greater Nashville Regional Council and the Middle Tennessee Mayors Caucus, Stones River Group launched a comprehensive government relations and communications strategy to amend the IMPROVE Act to include the local option. SRG assisted the mayors in crafting the desired legislative text and worked with the governor’s staff and state legislators to revise the bill accordingly. SRG also helped guide the amended IMPROVE Act through the legislative process, managing messaging and engagement with key legislators throughout a contentious series of committee and floor votes.
Simultaneously, SRG launched a complementary public relations effort to support the local option, developing social media content, pitching articles and drafting opinion pieces for local media outlets, and orchestrating a press conference featuring remarks from suburban mayors and policy discussions with reporters. As a result, the IMPROVE Act passed with the local option amendment and Governor Haslam signed the bill into law on April 26, 2017.