City Council member Andre Dickens won Tuesday's second election as Atlanta's next mayor, with overwhelming support that led to his ouster from current council president, Felicia Moore, after a second term in November.
Dickens has won a campaign full of concerns about the increase in violent crime in the city, saying he will be more successful than Moore, who was often a lonely critic of some former mayors in his 20 years as City Council. Moore became the leading candidate by wide numbers in the first round of voting on November 2 among 14 contestants in an impartial race.
Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms has created an open-air race when she announced in May that she would not run for a second term.
The 47-year-old Dickens, a native of Atlanta and a trained engineer, joined the council in 2013. He argues that his extensive knowledge will enable him to deal with crime and other city issues including affordable housing and improved opportunities for poor residents. Other challenges in the race include strengthening the struggling city resources and keeping the rich Buckhead area intact.
"We voted for progress and a problem solver, for the bridge builder, for change," Dickens told a crowd of hundreds during his victory speech Tuesday night. “And this work will start right now. We can't wait to fix these problems. ”
Dickens exited the team following a run for two on November 2 and won, ending a bid for the return of former two-time mayor Kasim Reed, who finished third. That ice support continued to ruff, courtesy of Bottoms, U.S. Rep. and Democratic Party of Georgia Chair Nikema Williams, Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis and Sharon Gay, attorney who finished fourth in Nov. 2 votes.
"I draw circles, I don't draw lines," Dickens said. "And the party tonight has been very big."
Like many cities across the country, Atlanta has seen an increase in homicides. Since November 13, homicides have risen by 10 percent over the same period last year and 57 percent compared to 2019, Atlanta police demonstrations. Several of these murders drew the attention of many.
Dickens is committed to increasing police numbers, arresting gang leaders and implementing community policing. He says he could retain Police Chief Rodney Bryant, who retired in 2020 after a former official stepped down following a police shooting that killed a black man that sparked riots.
Dickens also wants to grow affordable housing, improve infrastructure and ensure that current citizens are eligible for high-paying jobs. He acknowledged the city's problems Tuesday night, but then became more optimistic about the city's ability to change.
"As they say, Atlanta influences everything," Dickens said. “And it is time for us to use that influence to make a real difference. Atlanta needs to show the world that we are leading, that we are leading in social security, in transforming criminal justice, that we are leading affordable housing and ending inequality. ”
Moore, 60, called for unity in his speech, saying there was no difference between his supporters and Dickens because "we are all in Atlanta."
"We have to be called upon to do what we want everyone to do, and that includes this city," Moore said, urging Buckhead residents in particular to work with Dickens and refuse to part and for Dickens to make sure he achieves it. to all parties.
Alexander Dawes, a 25-year-old black man, said he voted for Dickens on Tuesday at Second-Ponce de Leon Baptist Church. Dickens' openness - and his standing on public safety - were crucial to his decision, Dawes said.
Getting more officers on the streets is part of the solution, he said.