Dickens (center) encourages the Atlanta community to vote in the final runoff. Photo: @andre4atlanta on Instagram

After the final runoff between Atlanta mayor candidates Andre Dickens and Felicia Moore on Nov. 30, Atlanta voters elected Dickens as the Atlanta mayor. Replacing Keisha Lance Bottoms, Dickens (47 years old) is a veteran City Council member, former church deacon, businessman, nonprofit executive and native Atlantan. “Councilman Andre Dickens was elected citywide to the Atlanta City Council Post 3 at-Large in Nov. 2013,” according to the city council of Atlanta website. His humble beginnings in the working-class neighborhood of Adamsville, GA provided him with a diverse lens on society (that he mentioned in his upbeat victory speech). Dickens then went on to receive an engineering degree from Georgia Tech and continues to support Atlanta as a strong city that can achieve success and progression. 

Dickens currently serves as the chairman of the Transportation Committee in which he oversees city streets, boardwalks and the Atlanta airport. Also according to his personal campaign website, Dickens also chaired the Public Safety and Legal Administration Committee in 2017. During his time on the committee, homicides decreased by 33%, and violent crimes decreased by 12%. Dickens also serves as the Chief Development Officer of TechBridge, regarding the challenge to bring affordable technology and business expertise to other nonprofit organizations.

According to Dickens’ personal campaign website, Dickens has been a “local legislative leader on public safety, transportation, affordable housing, workforce development, educational opportunities for Atlanta Public School students and seasoned citizens programming.” Regarding public safety, Dickens advocates for prioritizing diversity, modern comprehensive training and providing officers with the resources for successful community policing. “The modern police force needs to be able to provide a nuanced response to the community and that requires hiring and training a police force that is prepared to do more than simply arrest and incarcerate our community,” said Dickens’ personal campaign website. As mayor, Dickens plans to introduce a Safe Streets Atlanta plan in which he will surge the police force by 250 officers during his first year as mayor, to resolve pandemic-related court backlogs and to address the issues regarding gun trafficking. 

As for employment issues, Dickens plans to create an Atlanta Department of Labor to dedicate liaisons to organized labor and to ensure compliance with federal labor laws. Atlanta is growing in population and in wealth. Businesses are flocking to the city, yet we still have people living on our streets. We have people working at our airport just to meet last month’s rent,” said Dickens according to The New York Times. Dickens’ faith in Atlanta yet recognition of arising issues in the city speaks measures to his potential success. Lastly, one of Dickens’ prioritized topics includes education and youth. He plans to foster a partnership between the city of Atlanta and Atlanta Public Schools (APS) by hiring a chief education officer who will address educational system issues including coordination with technical colleges. Dickens also plans to strengthen coordination between APS and the Atlanta Department of Transportation in order to establish traffic safety in places like school zones and sidewalks near schools.

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