As Election Day approaches, Atlantans will soon have the chance to elect a new Mayor since Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms chose not to run for reelection.
The top five candidates up for election include former Mayor Kasim Reed, Atlanta City Council President Felicia Moore, council members Andre Dickens, Sharon Gay, and Antonio Brown; all going after the Mayor’s chair and the power to induce change within city walls.
On October 12th, the candidates went head-to-head for a round of debates to be clear on their positions and take political shots at their opponents. Besides the low blows on policy proposals and finger-pointing, the main three issues that overtook the evening’s talking points were concerning increased crime rates, infrastructure, and education.
Candidate Agendas: Plans for Atlanta
This category lays out each Mayoral Candidate’s plan for investing in the future of Atlanta.
As a politician who served as the 59th Mayor of the City of Atlanta for two whole terms, Kasim Reed is most likely the most memorable of the 2021 electoral candidates. From 2010-2018, Reed has established solid foundations with many groups, organizations, and corporations throughout Atlanta, with hopes to step back into his beloved Mayoral chair.
To combat rising crime in the city, Reed has visions to hire and properly train 750 new APD officers. Proper training includes equipping new and existing officers with implicit bias and de-escalation tactics that are intended to build trust and up-to-date safety measures for community citizens. More on Kasim Reed’s safety plans.
To continue strengthening Atlanta’s growth, Mayor Reed intends on leaning on his previous efforts to repair roads, expand public transportation, and fund sewer/water infrastructure. More on Kasim Reed’s plans to improve Atlanta’s infrastructure.
During the debates, Mayor Reed made clear points that connect the Atlanta Public School System with the developing film and arts industry by expanding curriculums to funnel young minds into film careers.
“I’m going to be coordinating with APS to find out how we can fill the gap and galvanize the corperate community to make sure that young people have exactly what then need to not miss a moment in their education,” said Reed.
As a public servant for over thirty years, Felicia Moore took interest in local government in 1997 and has served as City Councilmember for District 9 for twenty years before becoming Council President in January 2018.
Investing in the youth of Atlanta is part of Felicia Moore’s five “C” platform. She believes that expanding youth activities by working with local churches and businesses to expand mentorship programs is paramount for positive growth. Similar to Mayor Reed’s position, Moore plans to work with Atlanta Public Schools to expand after school programs that funnel children into positive environments.
Read more on Moore’s plan to invest in children.
Moore’s platform on regulating crime in Atlanta was laid out to deliver a plan categorized into five sectors: Community, Courts, Code Enforcement, and Children. Her platform includes launching an annual community survey that evaluates community trust, decriminalizing poverty related crimes, increasing accountability by tracking police misconduct, and offer programs for previously incarcerated citizens to help them re-enter society effectively.
Read more on Moore’s crime platform.
As the young-spirited CEO, Antonio Brown found his way into politics after launching a successful business in men’s fashion by pouring his interest back into the community for marginalized people in the city of Atlanta. His economically driven platform holds key points to driving the city’s economic ecosystem for the better.
Brown’s platform weighs heavy on improving public transit and alternative transportation so that Atlantans can efficiently access work, school, and leisure activities.
“As a City Councilmember, I’ve advocated for community benefits agreements, specifically for our low earning communities that have, unfortunately, been disenfranchised by developing companies. I think our law department, as Mayor, must be equipped with helping to protect these community benefit agreements within the communities, between our developers,” said Brown.
Brown’s platform on public safety revolves around the expansion of training/resources for officers, building a non-emergency response team, and developing conflict resolution services to deal with gang-related activity within the city of Atlanta.
Read more on Brown’s platform.
Andre Dickens is a City of Atlanta Councilmember, businessman, engineer, and nonprofit executive who has a history of vocalizing public safety, transportation, affordable housing, educational opportunities for APS students.
Andre Dickens’ platform to address crimes formulated into an acronym, holding a similar format to Council-mate, Felicia Moore. His S.A.F.E. Plan outlines key elements to a secure, productive Atlanta. He, too, is an advocate for 21st Century training and reform that results in better recruitment, retention, community engagement, and trust that leads to a decrease in crime.
Environment & Clean Energy
As an engineer, Dickens believes in the expansion of environmental policy to combat climate change with goals to achieve 100% clean energy by 2035. Moreover, his plans include incentivizing sustainable development, instituting solar in bulk, and supporting a new Tree Protection Ordinance.
Read more on Dickens’ platform.
As an attorney in the public policy practice at Dentons US LLP, Sharon Gay concentrates her practice in local and state government sectors with concentrations in economic development, transportation, district financing, and public-private partnerships
During the debates, Gay has made many mentions of her intentions of building affordable housing and tackling inner-city crime by way of community involvement. She believes that Atlanta’s issues of today start with engaging leadership at the top.
“This is a big challenge. We need to improve our capacity to spend the transportation dollars we have faster, more effectively, more efficiently to partner, once again, with community improvement districts and other private partners to expand our capacity. Not everybody needs the same things. Different neighborhoods need different things, so we’d really work on a more local level to give the neighborhoods the infrastructure they need” said Gay.
Read more on Gay’s platform.
Politics can be tricky because of its complexity and wiggle room for dishonesty and corruption. This election, however, is crucially important because it will, undoubtedly, shape the future of Atlanta’s education system, foundation infrastructure, and crime rate.
The opportunity to vote for Atlanta’s future is open today, November 2, 2021 and its citizens will have another chance to determine her future.
Image Source: Phil Mistry