BGR Group Expands with New Atlanta Office

Will Serve Clients in Georgia and throughout the Southeast Region


Atlanta, GA, (January 25, 2024) – BGR Group, Washington, D.C.’s premier bipartisan lobbying and public relations firm, today announced the opening of an office in Atlanta, Georgia. Building off the firm’s successful expansion in Austin, Texas in 2018, the Atlanta office will provide strategic representation and advocacy for clients in various industries at the local, state and national levels. The new office will physically expand the firm’s presence in the Southeast and enable the delivery of effective and innovative advocacy solutions to clients before state and local officials across the region and country.

BGR will be represented in Georgia by Thomasville, Georgia native William Crozer, a firm Principal and Co-Head of the firm’s bipartisan State and Local Advocacy Practice, and metro-Atlanta native Labriah Lee Holt, a Vice President and the newly named Managing Director of the Atlanta office. With the support of the entire firm’s bipartisan lobbying team, William and Labriah will focus on representing Georgia-based clients in Washington, D.C., as well as growing the firm’s bipartisan work in the City of Atlanta, State of Georgia, and throughout the Southeastern region.

Georgia is consistently ranked as a top state for business, and Atlanta has the nation’s third-largest concentration of Fortune 500 companies. “BGR ‘s history is rooted in the southeast and Atlanta is the epicenter for business and politics in the booming region. The best policies come from state and local decision-makers, and Georgia has some of the best public servants in the nation today,” former Governor and BGR Founder Haley Barbour said. “Having William and Labriah based in Atlanta will enable the firm to effectively service our clients with deep issue expertise and critical relationships and help drive synergies between the state and Washington.”

Before rejoining BGR in 2021, William served as a Special Assistant to the President and Deputy Director of the White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs (IGA) beginning in 2018. IGA serves as the primary liaison between the White House and the more than 500,000 state, local, territorial, and tribal leaders from the 50 States, 5 major Territories, and the District of Columbia.  He previously served in the Counsel’s Office for then-Georgia Governor Nathan Deal. Labriah most recently served as State Government Affairs Director for Microsoft, based in Atlanta, where she led engagement across the southeast region with state and local officeholders to advance policy. Before joining Microsoft, Labriah worked with federal, state, and local leaders throughout the country on some of the most pressing foreign policy issues as AIPAC’s National Director of Outreach.  Labriah started her career as an Intellectual Property Attorney at Alston & Bird LLP in Atlanta. Labriah currently serves on the Business Council for the African American Mayors Association (AAMA) and is a Board Member of the CareerRise, a workforce intermediary in Atlanta.

William Crozer commented, “With world class infrastructure, a competitive economic development and tax environment, a dedicated workforce, and a leading education system, businesses from around the world are thriving in Georgia’s economy. While remaining focused on BGR’s national and regional engagement, I am excited to provide a more concentrated level of support for clients with the state’s bipartisan Congressional delegation, the Governor, and other state and local officials. Having a full-time presence in Georgia will help BGR position our clients to be part of Georgia’s continued success.”

Labriah Lee Holt offered, “I am honored to open a new BGR office in the city that helped raise me and that has remained at the forefront of economic development and innovation in the Southeast.  Atlanta is not only a great place to do business, but also a vibrant hub of culture, creativity, and diversity. Atlantans know this vital culture influences everything from business, film production, sports teams, cutting edge technology, to the music industry. I have extensive experience working with governors, attorneys general, mayors across the region, and I look forward to helping our clients navigate the opportunities and challenges they face. I joined BGR to help its state and local team continue to expand, and I’m thrilled Atlanta will anchor the firm’s growth in the Southeast.”

BGR’s Atlanta office will be located at One Buckhead Plaza, 3060 Peachtree Road, Suite 1880, Atlanta, GA 30305.

About BGR Group

Founded in 1991, BGR Group is a premier government affairs and public relations firm with offices in Washington, D.C., Austin, Texas, London and now Atlanta, Georgia. BGR specializes in three key areas: bipartisan government affairs, strategic communications, and business advisory services. BGR brings together some of the most accomplished policy experts, public opinion influencers, and issue advocates from across the political spectrum.

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Disagreeing Without Hate

By Loren Monroe

The language surrounding our political discourse is getting increasingly toxic every day. Looking at Twitter or listening to speeches by politicians offers a disturbing window into the angry national mood.

  1. The Democrat party has shown its true Communist colors.
  2. The House GOP leadership has enabled white nationalism, white supremacy, and antisemitism.
  3. Democrats Are the Ultimate Grooming Gang.
  4. DeSantis is now officially a synonym for ‘fascist.’
  5. The Biden family is a family that has become wealthy by enabling, helping, aiding, and abetting the Chinese.
  6. What Elon Musk did, removing blue checks, is no different than what the Nazi party did to journalists.
  7. We need a national divorce. We need to separate by red states and blue states.

There is no chance we would let our children speak to others with such vitriol. Yet it has become commonplace in our political discourse to launch brutal insults. Many people are unwilling to call out inappropriate language because they fear potential retribution.

The essence of our woes, according to Harvard professor and author Arthur Brooks, is a “culture of contempt.” Increasingly, voters are being told that friends, family, neighbors, and co-workers who vote for the other party or disagree with specific policies should now be considered detestable, unpatriotic, and downright dangerous.

A 2022 CBS News/YouGov survey found that 51 percent of Democrats feel Republicans are not simply political rivals but genuine enemies who pose a real threat to their way of life. Fifty percent of self-identifying Republicans who are conservatives selected “enemy” to describe Democrats, and 50% went with simply “political opposition.”

The polarization along political and social fault lines presents unpredictable challenges for business leaders. Companies must navigate the gaps in policy directions between red states and blue states, where there is increasingly hardened division among governing officials, customers, and employees. Deciding to take a position, or even to stay neutral, is almost guaranteed to result in a backlash from those who disagree on nearly any issue, whether on abortion, gun control, transgender rights, education, vaccinations, immigration, ESG, or public safety.

When one side declares an issue as an “existential threat,” it often proves impossible to have a thoughtful dialogue about the potential solutions. Increasingly, both sides are taking “the ends justify the means” approach to governing, resulting in debate being shut down in pursuit of outright victory.

Twenty-nine states have legislatures featuring a “supermajority,” and 39 state governments feature a “trifecta” – where one party controls the governor’s office and both chambers of the state legislature. One-party control leads to minimal debate on policy differences and expedited passage of legislation.

Leadership is required to build consensus and lower the temperature of our national discourse. Importantly, intergovernmental groups like the National Council of State Legislatures (NCSL), the National Governors Association (NGA), and the Attorney General Alliance (AGA) are designed to convene bipartisan gatherings where elected officials from different parties can work in cooperation to share ideas, build relationships find policy consensus.

Utah Governor Spencer Cox, the next chair of the National Governors Association, plans to focus his chairman’s initiative on “disagreeing better.” Commenting on the divide between red and blue states, Governor Cox recently tweeted, “We don’t need a divorce, we need marriage counseling. And we need elected leaders that don’t profit by tearing us apart. We can disagree without hate. Healthy conflict was critical to our nation’s founding and survival.”

Governor Cox intends to highlight how leaders get things done while engaging in healthy conflict. His first effort will be around immigration and the bipartisan agreement among governors about the need to grow the workforce. By working together to produce legislative proposals, Governor Cox aims to give bipartisan cover to Congress to finally act. As part of his initiative, Governor Cox will encourage members of different political parties to tape Public Service Announcements and write op-eds about the critical importance of working together to address challenges. The template will be the television advertisement that Governor Cox and his Democratic opponent taped during the 2020 campaign for governor.

Breaking down partisan impulses will require more than elected officials simply changing their tone. Arguably, politicians are responding to demands from voters to clearly state where they stand and how far they will go to defeat the opposition. The longer-term solution relies on building an environment that promotes civil discourse and encourages compromise.

Braver Angels is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization working to unite red and blue Americans in a working alliance to depolarize America, “Our work is about building civic trust in the USA. It is about healing the wounds between the left and right. We welcome opportunities to engage with those with whom we disagree. We look for common ground where it exists, and if possible, find ways to work together.”

A critical piece of the solution will be educating our nation’s future leaders on working toward consensus and not seeing compromise as a failure. As the founding Partner of BGR Group and former Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour tells students and clients alike: “Purity in politics is the enemy of victory.”  Governor Barbour often quotes his mentor, President Ronald Reagan, “The person who agrees with you 80 percent of the time is a friend and an ally – not a 20 percent traitor.”

Braver Angels, the American Council of Trustees and Alumni (ACTA), and BridgeUSA have developed a program to teach students from colleges and universities to respect ideological diversity, foster civil discourse on college campuses, and cultivate student and faculty leaders. They prepare students to express their views, frame persuasive arguments, listen deeply, and engage respectfully with each other around issues that are typically difficult and divisive.

Another admirable group working to foster civil discourse is the Civility Leadership Institute (CLI) based in Little Rock, Arkansas. Started by General Wesley Clark, CLI convenes diverse groups of leaders nationwide for a year of training, learning, and workshops. Participants tackle complex topics impacting the nation with the goal of achieving common ground and reducing partisan division and gridlock.

America’s most successful political leaders have always shared a key ingredient—an optimistic vision for our country’s future. The well-being of our nation relies on each of us listening to those we disagree with and heeding the advice of President John F. Kennedy, who often reminded Americans that civility is not a sign of weakness: “Let us not emphasize all on which we differ but all we have in common. Let us consider not what we fear separately but what we share together.”

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BGR Deep Dives: Mayors Come to Washington – What to Watch!

By William Crozer, BGR Vice President and Managing Director, State and Local Advocacy

Hundreds of mayors from across America will descend on Washington this week for the U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM) 91st Winter Meeting. And as former Columbia, SC mayor, USCM President, and now BGR Advisory Board Co-Chair Steve Benjamin often reminds us, “Mayors get the hard work done every day”. The Winter Meeting brings mayors from cities with populations of 30,000 or more to the nation’s capital to engage with policymakers on pertinent issues across the policy spectrum. This year’s conference will focus on mental health, public safety, technology and innovation, infrastructure, affordable housing and homelessness, and workforce. The full agenda can be found here.

William addressing the U.S. Conference of Mayors Annual Meeting in 2019

Structurally, the Conference of Mayors acts to deliver a policy platform on behalf of America’s major metropolitan areas. The Conference is comprised of 11 standing committees and a host of task forces covering major issues areas. These Task Committees and Task Forces will convene during the Winter Meeting. Through this structure, the Conference promulgates policy resolutions that are considered and acted upon at the Annual Meeting in June. These resolutions are designed to inform federal policy development and implementation and are great conduits for advancing public and private sector priorities from the local to the federal government.

One notable task force to keep an eye on is the newly formed Public-Private Partnership Task Force, chaired by Atlanta, GA Mayor Andre Dickens (D). This task force is designed to be a hub for mayors to discuss opportunities, challenges, and best practices around public-private partnerships  and to serve as a conduit to enlist the help of businesses and non-profits for the improvement of local infrastructure and services. Task Force discussions can serve as an excellent guide for the private sector to broadly gauge mayoral priorities and opportunities for engagement.

So what should we expect this week? There will be a great deal of discussion around the Biden administration’s signature legislative achievements including the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), and the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), across infrastructure, health care, and the environment. The Biden administration has found ready allies in the nation’s mayors and has used these relationships to help advance a sweeping policy agenda underpinned by equity and racial justice. With an incoming Republican House majority likely to bring stalemate to Capitol Hill, at least for the foreseeable future, expect the administration, and mayors, to double down on implementing these major laws to achieve policy outcomes (see, for example, the Justice40 Initiative).

There may also be significant statements from mayors in cities like New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Houston and Miami. While it is certainly worthwhile to monitor discussions across the entire conference, the narrative from these cities often serves as an excellent barometer for issues of import at the local level and how they could help shape policy discussions in the White House and on Capitol Hill. It is also worth noting that following the 2022 midterm elections, this will be the first time the four largest cities – New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Houston – are led by African American mayors.

As Washington enters a new era of divided government, watch for mayors across the country to rise to the occasion and work to get things  done for their communities and constituencies.

William Crozer is Vice President and Managing Director for State and Local Advocacy. Prior to rejoining BGR in 2021, Crozer served as Special Assistant to the President and Deputy Director of the White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs from 2018-21. In that role, Crozer facilitated bipartisan engagement with state and local elected officials, including the nation’s mayors.

BGR Deep Dives: Interacting with State Executive and Legislative Branches

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Read Vice President Keiffer Mitchell’s best practices for interacting with state executive and legislative branches.


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