Andre Dickens was officially sworn in as the new mayor of Atlanta Jan. 3 at the Bobby Dodd Stadium at Georgia Tech.
With his hand on a Bible held by his mother, Dickens was sworn in by Fulton County State Court Judge Patsy Porter on the grounds of his alma mater as Atlanta residents looked on.
Dickens addressed the crowd, thanking Georgia Tech and his supporters, and congratulating the Atlanta city council members.
“It’s remarkable to believe that almost 30 years ago today, I stood here in the stands with my Kappa Alpha Psi brothers and would usher to make money to go to college during each of the football games,” Dickens said. “We would usher in those stands and so I stand here before you today to usher in a new day in the city of Atlanta.”
The girl dad, deacon, Atlanta native and Atlanta city council member won the runoff election against city council president Felicia Moore Nov. 30. The primary race started off with 14 candidates for mayor.
Dickens graduated from Mays High School before earning his bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology and a master’s of public administration degree in Economic Development from Georgia State University.
“I stand here today as living proof that a little kid from Adamsville could dare to dream to be the mayor,” Dickens said.
Dickens acknowledged the works of former mayors Sam Massell, Kasim Reed, Keisha Lance Bottoms, Ivan Allen and Shirley Franklin.
“I believe as they believe, that together there is nothing we can’t accomplish starting with redeeming the soul of Atlanta,” Dickens said. “Our true opponents are not some political competitor or some neighbor we disagree with — no, our opponents are poverty, fear, inequality, violence, hopelessness and homelessness.”
Dickens told the crowd his first 100 days in office will be “laser focused” on reducing crime and balancing safety and justice. The mayor plans to hire 250 new police officers and train all new and existing officers in conflict resolution and de-escalation tactics. He will also begin hiring and deploying specialists who will focus solely on mental health and homelessness.
Dickens said he will also focus on enhancing technology, from adding 10,000 street lights to every quadrant in the city from the airport to Phipps Plaza to fixing the 911 system, adding that “an emergency is just the wrong time to be put on hold.”
“Each mayor had their burden and mine is to bring us together, to form a safe, clean, thriving city and to restore our sense of community,” Dickens said.