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Councilman Andre Dickens wins Atlanta mayor race

City Council member Andre Dickens gained a runoff election Tuesday to turn into Atlanta’s subsequent mayor, driving a surge of help that powered him previous the council’s present president, Felicia Moore, after ending second to her in November.

Dickens gained a marketing campaign dominated by concern over rising violent crime within the metropolis, arguing he can be more practical than Moore, who had usually been a sometimes-lonely critic of earlier mayors in her 20 years on the City Council. Moore had been the main candidate by a large margin within the first spherical of voting on Nov. 2 amongst 14 candidates in a nonpartisan race.

Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms created a wide-open succession race when she introduced in May that she wouldn’t search a second time period.

The 47-year-old Dickens, an Atlanta native and engineer by coaching, joined the council in 2013. He argued that his broad vary of expertise would enable him to deal with crime and different metropolis points together with reasonably priced housing and enhancing alternative for poorer residents. Other points within the race included bolstering struggling metropolis companies and protecting the rich Buckhead neighborhood from seceding.

“We voted for progress and a problem solver, for a bridge builder, for transformation,” Dickens advised a crowd of tons of throughout his victory speech Tuesday evening. “And this work will start right now. We can’t wait any longer to address these issues.”

Dickens went from trailing the pack to take second on Nov. 2 and make the runoff, ending the comeback try of two-term former Mayor Kasim Reed, who completed third. That snowballing help continued within the runoff, with endorsements by Bottoms, U.S. Rep. and Democratic Party of Georgia Chair Nikema Williams, Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis and Sharon Gay, an lawyer who completed fourth in Nov. 2 voting.

“I draw circles, I don’t draw lines,” Dickens stated. “And the circle tonight got real large.”

Like many cities throughout the nation, Atlanta has been coping with a spike in killings. As of Nov. 13, homicides rose 10% over the identical interval final year and 57% in contrast with 2019, Atlanta police knowledge reveals. Several of these killings captured widespread attention.

Dickens has pledged to extend the variety of cops, arrest gang leaders and implement group policing. He says he might preserve present Police Chief Rodney Bryant, who got here out of retirement in 2020 after a earlier chief stepped down following a deadly police taking pictures of a Black man that led to unrest.

Dickens additionally desires to extend reasonably priced housing, enhance infrastructure and guarantee present residents qualify for high-paying jobs. He acknowledged the town’s issues Tuesday evening, however then pivoted to optimism concerning the metropolis’s potential to alter.

“Like they say, Atlanta influences everything,” Dickens stated. “And it’s time that we use that influence to make some real change. Atlanta needs to show the world that we are leading, that we are leading on public safety, on criminal justice reform, that we are leading on affordable housing and eliminating the inequality that we have.”

Moore, 60, made a name for unity in her concession speech, saying there’s no distinction between her supporters and Dickens’ as a result of “we’re all camp Atlanta.”

“We have to be called to do the thing that we wanted everyone else to do, and that’s bring this city together,” Moore stated, particularly calling on Buckhead residents to work with Dickens and spurn secession and for Dickens to verify he provides entry to all teams.

Alexander Dawes, a 25-year-old Black man, stated he voted for Dickens on Tuesday at Second-Ponce de Leon Baptist Church. Dickens’ transparency — and his stance on public security — have been key components in his resolution, Dawes stated.

Getting extra officers on the streets is just a part of the answer, he stated.

“I think there are multiple approaches to address crime,” Dawes stated. “Of course, staffing is important but also having officers present in the community. That’s important to build back that trust between the police and the community.”

Jennifer and Joe Moyers, each 60, stated they voted for Moore. She was the candidate who had probably the most give attention to curbing crime, Jennifer Moyers stated.

Some of Moore’s critics attacked her as the favourite of white voters, a frequent tactic in a metropolis the place many white and Black voters are divided by earnings and geography. Both Moore and Dickens are Black. Moore dismissed the notion that her help must be held towards her.

Moore touted her file to enchantment to voters hungry for change and position herself as somebody who would convey accountability and transparency to City Hall. But Dickens portrayed Moore as a naysayer and somebody who has been unable to work with others.

Dickens presently works for TechBridge, a nonprofit that tries to make use of expertise to assist different charitable teams. Dickens additionally based a program to coach folks for expertise work, attempting to broaden entry to high-paying jobs in Atlanta. He earlier ran a family-owned furnishings retailer chain that collapsed in chapter a decade in the past, one thing that Dickens blamed on the results of the Great Recession.

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