Tuesday morning, Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens delivered his 2023 State of the City breakfast address to a ballroom of business leaders downtown. Public safety, affordable housing and empowering youth were primary topics.
“Here in our city, workers who serve our residents every single day — the teachers, the coaches, mentors who show up for our young people — ask me all the time what it’s like to be mayor,” Dickens said at the top of the speech. “And I have to say, and I have to be honest, this is a tough job …These are hard challenges to tackle, and you won’t get far just working alone. You need good teams, and you need good partners, because Atlanta is a group project. And, thanks to all the people who pour their blood, their sweat and tears into Atlanta, I can report to you, on this day, the state of our city is strong.”
Dickens touted that homicides in the city were down 56% percent from the previous year. He then mentioned his proposal for the controversial public safety training facility known as “Cop City.” After receiving a smattering of applause, the mayor transitioned to honoring citizens, police officers and others who had made a difference in the community.
Dickens promised to bring back former Mayor Shirley Franklin’s “pothole patrol” and also thanked billionaire Tyler Perry for paying off property taxes for 700 low-income seniors in the city this year.
The mayor hinted at a new development, “Atlanta’s tallest residential building,” which would contain affordable units located at a 2 Peachtree Street address.
On Jan. 29, Dickens launched his “Year of the Youth” campaign, and the youth theme continued in the mayor’s speech Tuesday: He asked the audience to hire interns, mentor young people and donate to organizations that offer programs for kids.
“This is my personal ask of you,” said Dickens, who was born in Atlanta and graduated from Georgia Tech. “Leaders who came before me left their mark on this city, I’m living proof of their legacy.
“I’m standing here because of the city that they built, so keep these faces in your mind as you go today,” he said as he motioned toward students from the Atlanta Music Project, who had performed the national anthem at the start of the breakfast. “And think about the legacy we will leave behind for this next generation.”
This story comes to The Georgia Sun through a reporting partnership with GA Today, a non-profit newsroom focused on reporting in Georgia.