Tony Niknejad


Connect with Tony Niknejad

Tony Niknejad is a distinguished policy strategist and government relations expert, skilled in the areas of legislative advocacy, fiscal management, and strategic planning. Tony assists clients with navigating the Tennessee political landscape, orchestrating policy and legislative initiatives, and steering comprehensive advocacy and public engagement campaigns. From 2019 to 2023, he was the Policy Director for Tennessee Governor Bill Lee, serving as a key advisor and leader for the Governor’s Cabinet and leading many of the Administration’s major policy reforms. As policy director, Tony also played a critical role in Governor Lee’s successful 2018 campaign and post-election transition. Tony spearheaded key policy initiatives across a wide span, specializing in education, workforce, tax and healthcare policy. 

  • He was a driving force behind the Education Savings Account Act of 2019, the Literacy Success Act of 2021, the Tennessee Strong Families Initiative, and the Tennessee Works Tax Act of 2023.
  • Tony also led federal and multi-state relations through the COVID pandemic, coordinating the Financial Stimulus Accountability Group, which managed the allocation of over $6 billion in federal funds received through the CARES and American Rescue Plan Acts.
  • Prior to his work with Governor Lee, Tony served as state director for a school choice advocacy organization, overseeing Tennessee PAC activities and lobbying efforts from 2013 to 2017. 
  • Before that, he served as a legislative staffer in the Tennessee State Senate during the 107th General Assembly. 
  • Tony is a member of the State Bar of Tennessee and graduated from Vanderbilt University Law School in 2011. He received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Georgia, where he double-majored in Economics and Philosophy. He was selected for the Harvard Business School Young American Leaders program, Nashville Class of 2019.

Get to Know Tony

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Grew up in LaGrange, Georgia, and now resides in East Nashville with his wife Cristina who works in non-profit leadership.

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Tony and Cristina are dog-lovers, and can be found hiking or enjoying the park with their resuce pup Lincoln.

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When he can find the time, Tony enjoys a round of golf or a tennis match with friends, and will aim for an annual ski trip if the legislative schedule permits.

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Tony is currently studying for the Japanese Language Proficiency Test in December.

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