Most Legislators Complimentary of Mayor-to-be (probably) Berke

With Andy Berke expected to be elected soon as Chattanooga mayor, Andy Sher takes a look at his previous political career in the state Legislature. There are mostly compliments. The story starts like this:
As chairman of the state Senate Education Committee, Republican Delores Gresham sometimes worked with Sen. Andy Berke and sometimes fought with him over a GOP agenda minority Democrats thought went too far.
Gresham, a no-nonsense former Marine colonel from West Tennessee, said she developed respect for the 44-year-old attorney who is widely seen as the frontrunner in the Chattanooga mayor’s race.
The other candidates are former city employee Guy Satterfield and perennial candidate Robert Chester Heathington Jr. The nonpartisan election is March 5.
“If [Berke] had a conviction about a certain issue, he would not hesitate to speak,” Gresham said.
She and Berke were among lawmakers who worked with Democratic Gov. Phil Bredesen in 2009 as he began developing K-12 and higher education initiatives. Those bipartisan efforts earned Tennessee national recognition and a $500 million federal Race to the Top grant.
“He’s a great guy; he’s a smart guy, and I always appreciated his incisiveness and insights even though I didn’t agree with him 99 percent of the time,” chuckled Gresham.
Berke’s legislative experience will make him a “fantastic mayor,” said Rep. JoAnne Favors, D-Chattanooga, “because he’s gained an understanding of how government functions.

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