NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – The four Democratic mayors of the state’s four largest cities can often be seen on Tennessee’s Capitol Hill, but a trek to Nashville for the group this year was a little different.
Two of the mayors are new and they met for the first time with the Republican Speaker Cameron Sexton, who is preparing for his first session in the position.
Chattanooga’s mayor came with a message to keep power close to the people.
“Cities need different things and so we want to give people the flexibility to decide what works for their own community,” said Mayor Andy Berke.
For Nashville Mayor John Cooper, it’s about city and state governments needing each other.
While cities are an economic engine for jobs, local problems in education, transportation, and affordable housing need state government.
“Help us solve those problems. The state has a whole lot more money than we do and we would like their help in problems we are working on together,” said Mayor Cooper who took office in late September.
Knoxville’s new mayor says her priority is where state government invests in people.
“Whether that comes from education, healthcare, workforce development, mobility and … affordable child care, the more we invest in people then the more their talents are unleashed to build their businesses and pursue their dreams,” Mayor Indya Kincannon whose been in office just over two weeks.
The Memphis mayor went hyper-local with his message to the speaker: Can state troopers help with a highway crime wave?
“We have had a significant number of interstate shootings. We have put more police officers out there, but the more highway patrol officers we have out there, the more officers we can have patrolling our streets in Memphis,” said Mayor Jim Strickland.
Afterward, Speaker Sexton said in a statement; “Effective partnerships are critical to continuing our success and building a better Tennessee for all citizens. We are always willing to meet and work with city, community, county, and state leaders, and all interested parties, just as we have done over these past few months. While we may not always agree, we can have conversations, respect one another’s opinions, share ideas, and work together — whenever possible — to solidify Tennessee’s future.”
The four mayors also met with Republican Governor Bill Lee and Republican Lt. Governor Randy McNally.