National Alliance for Public Charter Schools

The National Alliance for Public Charter Schools required a government relations firm to represent its interests to the Mississippi State Legislature. The Alliance recognized that public support for their issue must be strong to produce legislative results. Having a combined background in grassroots organization and government relations, our Principals were contracted by the Alliance to support its efforts in Mississippi.

A grassroots strategy focusing on targeted school districts was key in building public support, as well as media coverage. The growth of this network created a groundswell that emphasized the need for legislative action. Having extensive relationships within state government and the relevant state agencies, our Principals were able to assist in the passage of the most extensive charter schools legislation to date in Mississippi. With the creation of web videos, e-mail blasts to legislators and a website for the public to use for information and calls to action called www.mseducationoptions.org, our team systematically perpetrated a message that facilitated support statewide that had previously not been identified and helped our own lobbying efforts for passage.

Additionally, due to success of the advocacy and grassroots efforts, Mississippi now his establishing its own chapter within the National Alliance. We continue to work with our partners to further improve our State's charter school law and to push for Race to the Top funds for our State's department of education.

Entergy Mississippi, Inc.

In 2008, our Principals were a part of an effort to enact legislation that authorized the Mississippi Public Service Commission to utilize an alternative method for cost recovery of certain baseload generation. A process was created for advancing Mississippi's energy initiatives by providing the tools the commission needed to allow an electric utility to consider large and long lead time generation options for the benefit of customers.

Entergy Mississippi and other proponents of this new law recognized that it would allow utilities to build needed power plants at a more efficient level and would ultimately save Mississippi customers money. The legislation offers protection to customers from future rate shock associated with new nuclear or coal plant construction, helps Mississippi achieve energy independence and ensures have clean, affordable power for the future. The legislation also allows the use of more diverse and stable fuel sources, such as nuclear and coal thereby increasing Mississippi's energy independence. A tough bill to pass, the statewide newspaper included a cartoon depicting the lobbyists for the power industry as a force of strength. The result was a strong piece of legislation that kept Mississippi at the forefront of energy matters.

New Markets Tax Credit Legislation

A state credit that acts as a companion credit to the Federal New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) Program for Mississippi income or insurance premium tax bearers is available for eligible investments made by Community Development Entities (CDEs) in designated low income census tracts in the state, as defined by the U.S. Census Bureau. As a result of legislation passed in 2007, Mississippi allows a state credit equal to 24% of the Qualified Equity Investment (QEI) in addition to the credits awarded through the federal program.

Our team worked hard to ensure that a strong measure was passed and that the program would be effective once enacted. The credits can be used to offset up to fifty percent of the entity's income tax liability after all other credits have been taken, and unused investment tax credits can be carried forward up to five years.

Mississippians for Jobs Coalition

Our Principals were instrumental in organizing a coalition of Mississippi Gulf Coast business leaders in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, America's most devastating national catastrophe, to coordinate with Governor Haley Barbour a special legislative session to facilitate the rebuild. Our Principals managed the coalition and systematically responded to critics whose interest was not the economic activity of the Coast as a whole but their own profit and other well-meaning groups whose sole positions were social issues. One of the most critical components of the bill included a compromise that did not allow for gaming to be expanded in terms of the areas where casinos were allowed but brought them off the dangerous water and on to dry land within 800 feet of their existing sites.

In addition to setting the high level meetings with committee chairmen and the Governor, our responsibilities included gathering the facts, informing the decision makers and distributing research to educate the populous and the legislature. It was no less than this strategy which led to a victory for the Governor and the Coast in the middle of such a contentious fight.

Project Fire Prevent

The National Fire Protection Association tapped our Principals to implement the grassroots components of "Project Fire Prevent - A Public Awareness Campaign Bringing Fire Safety Messages to the State of Mississippi." By crafting a strategy that combined town meetings on a local level with a statewide field operation, as well as an Advisory Board of fire experts and government leaders, the campaign educated Mississippians on fire risk factors, and preventative measures to lower those risks. By involving community leaders, public schools, elected officials, and law enforcement, Project Fire Prevent succeeded in educating the citizens of the State of Mississippi about the dangers of fire and helped to reduce the death rate that had grown to an alarming all-time high.

Working in conjunction with national communications partner Fleishman-Hillard and the National Fire Protection Association, our firm's success was a direct result of our strong relationships with government and community leaders, at both a statewide and local level. Working in tandem with Fleishman on the advertising strategy for rural Mississippi, managing focus groups, organizing crowds for events, and participating in small town rallies, our team displayed the essence of what a grassroots campaign should be when done effectively.