After the numerous debates and endless culture wars on social media, the Atlanta voters had their turn to speak up. Tuesday night, the voters elected Andre Dickens to become the next mayor of Atlanta.
“I’m beyond humbled that you have even chosen me. You’ve elected me to be the 61st mayor of this great city,” Dickens said.
Dickens, 47, defeated Felicia Moore, 60, in the runoff election. By definition, this was an upset considering Moore carried 41% of the vote in the Nov. 2 general election.
However, Dickens was quick to point out he was an underdog the entire time.
“When I announced that I will be running for mayor, some people even counted me out six months ago,” Dickens exclaimed. “They said I was dreaming way too big. Yet again, as some of those people try to get me off track. But, we these folks on my side, we scrapped and we scraped and we fought to get our message out to the entire city of Atlanta. Four weeks ago, just four weeks ago. We proved them wrong.”
Dickens picked up momentum in the weeks before the Nov. 2 general election and was endorsed by former Mayor Shirley Franklin, whom he says is his mentor. In a Nov. 3 interview with The Atlanta Voice, Dickens said his message to voters in the Nov. 30 runoff is that he has the right combination of government, business, and nonprofit experience to be mayor.
“I draw circles, I don’t draw lines,” Dickens said referencing his engineering background. “And the circle tonight got really large.”
.@AndreForAtlanta told supporters he was counted out when he first ran for office in 2013. He says those naysayers counted him out six months ago. "They said I was dreaming way too big."— The Atlanta Voice (@theatlantavoice) December 1, 2021
Now, he is the Mayor-elect of the City of Atlanta. #GaPol #ATLPol #TheAtlantaVoice pic.twitter.com/5P4xLsOqNL
During the twenty-eight-day runoff period, Dickens cast Moore as a constant naysayer and someone who was difficult to work with. Additionally, Moore’s critics lampooned her as a favorite of white voters citing the majority of her support hails from majority-White neighborhoods and individuals seeking to demolish Atlanta’s current stature as America’s Black entertainment mecca.
Meanwhile, Dickens gained endorsements from current Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, U.S. Representative and Democratic Party of Georgia Chair Nikema Williams, Fulton County District Attorney Sharon Gay, and numerous entrepreneurs and entertainers residing in Greater Atlanta.
“Man, this is a legendary night,” Ryan Wilson said, co-founder of The Gathering Spot. “I’m just humbled the city came together with a historic victory. And I think the next four years are going to be something really magical for the city. We fought for a long time for this. This is a good moment. I mean, this is really powerful. And I’m excited and grateful that we got a chance to host it.”
Dickens’s speech served as insight into his agenda. He said Atlanta faces the highest income inequality in America, a crisis in affordable housing, homelessness, and a crime spike that has Buckhead, the city’s wealthiest neighborhood, considering seceding from Georgia’s capital city.
“My opponent requires all of us and that is what we’re fighting against, but if any city, any city in the world that can face this issue is Atlanta,” Dickens said, as he labelled the city’s current issues as his opponents. “Atlanta is home to the movements that have changed the world. And we need another movement right now. And we have voted for new leadership and this direction. We voted for progress and a problem solver and a bridge-builder for transformation.”
Dickens proposed hiring a minimum of 250 new police officers in his first year in office while requiring new training for every police department employee on de-escalation strategies and racial sensitivity.
Tuesday’s runoff elections will become official once the results are certified by the Georgia Secretary of State’s office.
“I’ve heard people say they said this in Atlanta, they say, ‘Atlanta is full'”, Dickens said. “They say Atlanta is full. I say we are full of potential. I say we’re full of talent. I say we’re full of opportunity. We’re full of leaders. Potential. We are full of hope for Atlanta’s future. And I cannot be more proud of this moment right here, to be on this journey with me to become the 61st mayor of Atlanta.”