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David Pendered

Communications team chosen to promote transportation sales tax campaign

By David Pendered

A communications team now is in place to promote the 1 percent transportation sales tax that is to be on the ballot in less than 28 weeks.

The team is comprised of three individuals who will replace Liz Flowers, who resigned as communications manager in November. The new team includes Bert Brantley, a former spokesman to then-Gov. Sonny Perdue; Jeff Dickerson, a former journalist who has handled crisis communications for several clients; and Saba Long, who recently worked on the campaign of Atlanta City Council President Ceasar Mitchell.

A note from Long said she will serve as the media contact person for the campaign. Brantley and Dickerson will serve as consultants to the campaign and devise “both broad and targeted messaging.”

The campaign team has been in a state of constant evolution since the resignation of the lead consultant in August.

The team is charged with raising money and running a campaign that is to convince a major of voters in the 10-county metro Atlanta area to vote for a 1 percent sales tax to pay for transportation infrastructure. The vote is scheduled for July 31.

Here’s the team’s current roster:

  • Campaign manager: Che Watkins, who resigned as vice president/external affairs and communications with the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce, to take the post;
  • Campaign consultants: Paul Bennecke, a former deputy executive director of the Republican Governors Association; and Kevin Ross, a veteran political operator who most recently headed the campaign of Burrell Ellis for CEO of DeKalb County;
  • Campaign communications: Brantley, Dickerson, Long;
  • Campaign social media: Influential, a Washington-based firm whose two co-founders have deep roots in the RGA.

The campaign the sales tax campaign is being coordinated by MAVEN, the Metro Atlanta Voter Education Network, Inc. MAVEN is a non-profit corporation created last year by the law practice of Troutman Sanders, LLP. Renay Blumenthal is listed as the CEO, CFO, and secretary of the corporation. Blumenthal serves as senior vice president of public policy for the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce.

David Pendered

David Pendered, Managing Editor, is an Atlanta journalist with more than 30 years experience reporting on the region’s urban affairs, from Atlanta City Hall to the state Capitol. Since 2008, he has written for print and digital publications, and advised on media and governmental affairs. Previously, he spent more than 26 years with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and won awards for his coverage of schools and urban development. David graduated from North Carolina State University and was a Western Knight Center Fellow.


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