Atlanta Mayoral Race 2021

Candidate Profiles

These profiles are made from direct quotes from each candidate. VoterTech does not endorse any candidate, this page is intended to provide information about each candidate in their own words.


Runoff Candidates

The two candidates running in the Atlanta Mayoral Runoff Election are Andre Dickens and Felicia Moore. The election will be held on November 30, 2021. For more information on the runoff election, please visit Atlanta Mayoral Runoff Election.


Andre Dickens

Website:

https://andreforatlanta.com/

Biography (Directly from Website):

Andre Dickens is a City of Atlanta council member, businessman, nonprofit executive, engineer, speaker, deacon, father, and native Atlantan. His career follows his passions and his impact follows his commitment. Andre Dickens is a city councilman, businessman, nonprofit executive, engineer, speaker, deacon, father, and native Atlantan. His career follows his passions and his impact follows his commitment. Councilman Andre Dickens was elected citywide to the Atlanta City Council Post 3 at-Large in November 2013. He serves as the chairman of the Transportation Committee providing oversight of all of the city streets, bridges, sidewalks, paths, and Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, the world’s busiest. He previously served as the chairman of the Public Safety Committee along with voting to provide raises for Police Officers. Councilmember Dickens also served on the Community Development Committee, as well as on the boards of the Atlanta BeltLine, Invest Atlanta, and the Center for Civil and Human Rights. Dickens also serves as the Chief Development Officer for TechBridge, a nonprofit that drives community impact by bringing affordable technology and business expertise to other nonprofits. Dickens earned a bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering from Georgia Tech and a Master’s of Public Administration in Economic Development at Georgia State University. As the Post 3 At-Large Councilmember Dickens is an active and outspoken legislative leader on educational opportunities for APS students, affordable housing, transportation, workforce development, and senior citizens programming. Dickens led the efforts to create Atlanta’s first Department of Transportation, establish a $15 per hour minimum wage, and develop BeltLine Inclusionary Zoning for affordable housing.

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Felicia Moore

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Remaining Candidates

The remaining candidates did not reach the necessary vote total to qualify for the runoff election. 


Antonio Brown

Website:

https://reimaginingatlanta.com/

Biography (Directly from Website):

Elected in 2019, Antonio Brown represents Atlanta’s District 3 which includes Vine City, English Avenue and Atlantic Station. As a successful CEO and humanitarian, Antonio Brown adds a unique perspective, strong faith, and inspirational work ethic to his community. Growing up in poverty with his parents frequently incarcerated, Antonio discovered he had the resilience and drive to overcome adversity & achieve success. From the ground up, he built LVL XIII (Level 13), a luxury men’s fashion brand currently sold in Nordstrom nationwide.  After successfully launching his business, Antonio immediately began to pour back into the community through Dream of Humanity (DOH), a nonprofit committed to improving the life trajectory of marginalized people from disadvantaged backgrounds. Dream of Humanity provides the community with access to a self sufficient lifestyle through wraparound services, transformative educational programs, and generous charitable contributions.In less than two years, Councilmember Brown has sponsored over 60 ordinances and resolutions while leading several community initiatives to improve the quality of life for residents in Atlanta. He continues to fight for living-wage jobs, access to affordable housing, food insecurity and an equitable and just public safety system. Councilmember Brown was one of the first elected officials to boldly and unapologetically step out front of the social justice movement reawakening a powerful time in our nation’s history and presented city proclamations honoring the lives of Ahmaud Arbery and Rayshard Brooks.

Platform (Directly from Website):

Revitalization of the workforce:

  • Create living-wage jobs: Municipal enterprises provide a way to provide high-quality low-cost goods and services to create sustainable jobs without investing in other social programs.

  • Retrain & upskill workers: A thriving city relies on skilled workers in all industries by offering opportunities for professional development and the acquisition of new, in-demand skills.

  • Provide career advancement: The City will capitalize on the success of federally funded programs to better serve residents by looking to receive job training for jobs in the private sector.

Enhance economic opportunities:

  • Reinvigorate small business: COVID-19 was a disaster for small businesses, with Black-owned businesses amongst the hardest hit. Small businesses must have access to capital in order to expand and recover post-pandemic.

  • Promote entrepreneurship: Today’s startups are tomorrow’s businesses. Let’s nurture and fund Atlanta’s innovators to build a new generation of small business owners, who employ over half our nation’s workforce.

  • Redefine land use & zoning: The City should reduce the negative impact of outdated zoning and land-use policies on new business development, with a focus on creating attractive and accessible neighborhoods.

Improve Mobility for all:

  • Improve mass transit: A reliable and effective public transportation system will reduce traffic and parking congestion while allowing residents to commute to work, school and throughout the city.

  • Create walkable neighborhoods: Every resident should feel safe to talk in their own neighborhood. We must improve sidewalks and crosswalks, demolish or improve dilapidated housing, and eliminate trash and illegal dumping.

  • Promote alternative transportation: By promoting biking, car-sharing, and carpooling we can make our city healthier and less congested.

Modernize our infrastructure:

  • Expand internet connectivity: From school to work to social life, the internet is a constant part of our daily lives. The city should have 5G hotspots in all neighborhoods, with a priority placed on parks and in high-density neighborhoods.

  • Embrace new technologies: We must better utilize advanced technological innovations to improve safety, coordinate emergency response, and reduce traffic congestion.

  • Automate city processes & Services: Improve efficiency of City departments and processes by streamlining city management to reduce waste and redundancies.

Address housing affordability:

  • Expand affordable housing: As housing development costs continue to rise, we must construct more affordable housing through incentives and public-private partnerships.

  • Care for the unsheltered: Broaden the City’s “Housing First” approach to homelessness by removing barriers and providing wraparound services to support a transition to permanent housing.

  • Address the city's blight: Build public-private partnerships that incentivizes the development of vacant and dilapidated properties to increase housing opportunities in the community.

Generate financial stability:

  • Expand homeownership: Many Atlanta residents are unable to afford the large down payments and credit checks required to purchase a home. New programs that remove barriers for first-time home-buyers will provide residents a path to financial stability.

  • Increase financial independence: The city must support residents impacted by generational poverty on their journey to financial independence. In addition to education, residents should have the tools to address reducing the debt that plagues many low- and middle-income households.

Inspire trust in public safety:

  • Provide Support to officers: By creating The Center for Social Justice & Public Safety Training Facility, we can provide officiers with the resources and training to better respond to public safety matters.

  • Dispatch unarmed responders: Expand our team of non-emergency responders that will be responsible for all non-emergency and community service functions to better support our policing division.

  • Improve outcomes for at-risk youth: We must proactively engage at risk youth to provide wraparound services and support and develop conflict resolution services to deal with gang-related activity.

Nurture health & wellness:

  • Access to healthy food: Our low-income neighborhoods are “food deserts,” where often the only place to buy food is convenience stores. By creating urban farmers markets, we can bring healthy food to these communities.

  • Promoting healthy living: The City must create a better bike network that will allow for residents to promote healthier lifestyles while also reducing car traffic.

  • Mental health & substance abuse: We must partner with the City’s counties to develop aggressive treatment programs to reduce the harm of mental illness and drug abuse.

Engage the community:

  • Improve communications: Create a centralized city communications department specifically tasked with increasing access to information, resources, and programs to address the disenfranchisement of residents.

  • Increase civic participation: Engagement starts at the neighborhood level, and we must make it easier for residents to be active in their Neighborhood Planning Unit (NPU).

  • Support inclusivity: Atlanta must continue to be welcoming to all of its residents, including those disenfranchised and underrepresented.

Details of specific initiatives are included on his website here.


Kirsten Dunn

Website:

http://kirstendunnformayor.com/

Biography (Directly from Website):

Kirsten Elise Dunn is a local real estate investor, serial entrepreneur, and author who refuses to allow life experiences to define her. When Dunn was born, her mother had a blood transfusion and contracted HIV, which essentially caused her parent’s death. At the tender age of 13, Dunn ended up in the foster care system and became a victim of sexual abuse. Determined to make something of her life despite this hellacious act, Dunn obtained a cheerleading scholarship to Grambling State University.

With a lack of guidance, Dunn found herself in a toxic relationship that introduced her to the other side of the law. At 19, Dunn got pregnant with her first son and spent the first five years of his life incarcerated. Reaching a breaking point upon her release from prison and determined to do purposeful work, Dunn went back to school and obtained a Master Optician Certification.

After managing a retail optical store for a few years and creating a name for herself in real estate, Dunn’s personal and human experiences are examples of what it means to start over. To change your life around and live your true, meaningful purpose.

As the future Mayor of Atlanta, Kirsten Else Dunn plans to unify the community through policies, programming, and healing under ONE ATLANTA.

Platform (Directly from Website):
  • HEAL THE PEOPLE, STOP THE CRIME! Work in collaboration with local law enforcement, neighborhood associations and community advocates to deploy traditional and non-traditional methods of prevention and intervention under the Cease Fire Initiative.
  • IMPROVEMENT AND ENHANCEMENT of more health services for all residents of Atlanta (mental health, general health, vision, and dental).
  • QUALITY SERVICE to “unhoused” residents to provide suitable living arrangements.
  • SMALL BUSINESS TRAINING CLASSES for the overlooked and underestimated community (felons, veterans, recent college graduates, high school graduates, young entrepreneurs, LGBTQIA, business owners, non-profits, etc).
  • POSITIONING ATLANTA AS THE PREMIER TECH HUB in the U.S. My goal is to continue expanding the entertainment industry and provide more opportunities for aspiring entertainers and artists.
  • INCREASE THE CITY’S FOCUS on developing more small, diverse businesses throughout the city.
  • IMPROVE THE QUALITY OF PUBLIC-SCHOOL EDUCATION in the community and provide more resources and support to homeschooled students.
  • GENERATE MORE INITIATIVES FOR HOMEOWNERSHIP and provide financial literacy training to all residents.

Nolan English

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Sharon Gay

Website:

https://www.sharongayformayor.com/

Biography (Directly from Website):

Sharon Gay is an attorney in the public policy practice at Dentons US LLP where she served as Atlanta Managing Partner from 2018 to first quarter 2021. She concentrates her practice in state and local government law, particularly in the areas of land use and zoning, tax allocation district financing, economic development incentives, transportation, and public-private partnerships.

Platform:
  • Today, our challenges loom large:  violent crime and lawlessness, inadequate housing for our residents at all stages of life, continuing economic impact from the COVID-19 pandemic, and the legacies of past decades of racial discrimination.  
  • Public corruption remains the focus of an ongoing federal investigation of our city that started over five years ago and has resulted so far in numerous indictments and guilty pleas.  
  • Basic public services — from pothole repair to parks maintenance to recycling pickup — are deteriorating.  Important government positions have been vacant for months and even years.  In some neighborhoods, we don't have enough decent, affordable housing near good schools and jobs, while in other parts of town rapid housing price increases are jeopardizing long-time residents.  
  • But, given all these critical issues, the central challenge we face today is the lack of effective, engaged Atlanta-focused visionary leadership at the top.  We need a new mayor who will show up and do the work.   We need a leader who will set the tone for competence, service, and ethics throughout city government.  That is why I am running for mayor.
  • My name is Sharon Gay.  I love Atlanta and I have been involved in the business and civic leadership of our city for decades. I have a proven record of success as a lawyer and a manager.   I am passionate about public service.  I know city government.  I know our neighborhoods.
  • I am not seeking power or a stepping stone to higher office.  I am seeking to bring to City Hall the smart, effective, honest, and neighborhood-focused leadership that all Atlantans deserve.  I believe that by training, experience, and public service dedication, I am uniquely qualified to serve in this role at this time.

Mark Hammad

Website:

https://www.hammad4atl.com/

Biography (Directly From Website):

First, I am not a political insider.  I have never worked in politics before.  I have never run for office before.  I am politically independent and I won’t attach labels to my name (no D’s or R’s).   I’m not a millionaire, I’m not wealthy – I work a 9 to 5. As an Atlanta native, it saddens me to see the current state of the city.  I can't stand by idly anymore, watching as our citizens needlessly suffer, while our elected officials continue to do nothing. The most urgent need is to reign in the crime.  The near daily news of deadly shootings in the city is absolutely unacceptable. There is an easy solution, but our elected officials fail to act.  Behind every deadly shooting is nothing but pain and anguish – with grieving mothers and orphaned children left in the wake of destruction.  Unfortunately, some of the victims have been children themselves.  The saddest part of all – these deadly crimes are preventable, they don’t have to happen.  I will fix this. I promise to be only accountable to the citizens of Atlanta.  I don’t have a political party to appease and pander to and I don’t have donors to appease (I am not taking campaign contributions). I don’t have political cronies, groupies, or an entourage to take care of.  It's just me. I can’t effect change by staying silent.  I am running for Mayor to make Atlanta a better city for my son - it starts now and I won’t give up on Atlanta.

Platform (Directly From Website):

Voter Turnout:

  • My #1 goal is to see the city election in November have the highest turnout and voter participation in Atlanta history.

Crime:

  • Re-open the Atlanta city jail.  Fulton county has repeatedly cited overcrowding and COVID as the reason for releasing violent and dangerous criminals into our community.  Let’s take this excuse away.
  • End the use of signature bonds for violent and repeat offenders.  Releasing these criminals on their own recognizance is meaningless and puts everyone in harms way.
  • Provide more support for the Fulton County DA.  We have a new DA, Fani Willis, and she does deserve  support from the city.  She recently asked for additional funding to help reduce the case backlog in her office.  The city of Atlanta should provide all the support she asks for, and more.  The damage caused by criminals on our streets costs many time more any amount of support that would be provided to the DA.
  • Provide better transparency with judicial records and decisions.  Some judges sentence up to 40% of the defendants in their courtroom to jail, some sentence less than 10%.  There is clearly a lack of consistency when it comes to sentencing.  The citizens of Atlanta deserve better.  The odds of a criminal going to jail should not depend on which judge they see – it should depend on their crime, the severity of the crime, and their past offenses, if any.  Judges that put our community in harms way should be removed from the bench, period.
  • Identify and close venues that are magnets for criminals and crime.  A disproportionate number of business (typically bars and nightclubs) account for the majority of 911 calls and crime.  We have the data to identify these locations.  The City should work with the business owners to implement solutions to reduce crime.  Businesses that fail to work with the City or fail to reduce crime should be closed.

Atlanta Police:

  • Support the APD.  They put their lives on the line keeping us safe.  There is no need to treat police officers like veterans returning from Vietnam.  Say “thank you” the next time you see an officer.  Show your appreciation and support.
  • Focus on recruiting and retaining officers so the APD can reach their authorized and appropriate staffing levels.
  • Offer financial incentives for officers who left in the last 2 years to return.  Returning officers would not need basic training and are familiar with the department and the city neighborhoods.
  • Ensure that the budget is in place for APD to continue to get the best and most advanced training possible. 
  • Ensure the budget is available for APD to work with the best technological solutions available (for example: additional remotely operated and monitored cameras).

Homelessness:

  • We don’t have to re-invent the wheel.  Other cities have successfully tackled this, we can copy and model successful programs and initiatives.
  • Housing first policies have been effective in other cities.  We should advance this as much as possible in Atlanta.
  • Locate, identify and gather information regarding our homeless population.  We can’t effectively provide assistance if we don’t know where they are, who they are, and what assistance they need.
  • Reduce the bureaucracy and paperwork associated with providing resources and assistance.  This includes housing programs, health care, job training, and job placement.

Basic Services:

  • Do a complete bottoms-up needs assessment of the basic services, identifying the locations, requirements, and severity of the issues.  Identify the budget and resources required to bring the basic services up to standard.  
  • Employ resources to actively identify gaps and issues with basic services before issues become more severe. 
  • Enhanced 311 service for citizens to submit requests and provide feedback.
  • Identify blighted properties and underserved neighborhoods and prioritize these areas.

Accountability and Transparency:

  • I will set up an independent commission, with unwavering access to investigate any claims of waste, fraud, or abuse in the city of Atlanta government.  This commission would be beyond the reach of influence or interference from the Mayors office.
  • I promise to publicize my meeting calendar.  I will be transparent about who I meet (both groups and individuals) and when I met with them.
  • Put in place greater internal controls over city issued purchase cards (“p-cards”), to hopefully avoid situations like the time the CFO purchased machine guns and military grade weapons for personal use.
  • Lastly, if elected, I want citizens and journalist to hold my feet to fire.  As Mayor, I am responsible for everything that occurs within the city of Atlanta government.  Ignorance is not an excuse.  Demand answers from me, demand accountability from me.

Kenneth Darnell Hill

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Rebecca King

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Kasim Reed

Website:

https://kasimreed.com/

Biography (Directly From Website):

Kasim Reed is an attorney and politician who served as the 59th Mayor of the City of Atlanta for two terms from 2010 – 2018. As Mayor, Reed was credited for increasing core city services while reducing the City’s spending during the worst recession in 80 years. Upon entering office, Mayor Reed hired more than 900 police officers, creating the largest police force in the City’s history. He oversaw a 37 percent drop in crime during his tenure, improved fire-rescue response times and re-opened all the city’s recreation centers as safe havens for young people.

Working with the Atlanta City Council and the City’s employee unions, Mayor Reed successfully led a series of sweeping reforms to address the City’s $1.5 billion unfunded pension liability. He began his term facing a $48 million budget shortfall, yet, under his leadership, the City produced eight years of balanced budgets with no property tax increases, increased its cash reserves from $7.4 million to $200 million, and received eight consecutive credit-rating increases.

When Mayor Reed left office in January 2018, the City of Atlanta was on its best financial footing in forty (40) years and his approval rate was 65 percent, while Atlanta had earned a 69 percent ’right track’ rating from its residents.

Mayor Reed’s civic leadership and service have been nationally recognized on programs such as Meet the Press; on news outlets such as MSNBC, CNN, FOX and CNBC; and in publications including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post. Mayor Reed was a prime-time speaker at the 2016 National Democratic Convention in Philadelphia, and he has been a guest speaker at numerous national and international conferences including The World Economic Forum, Aspen Ideas Festival, Chicago Ideas Week, New York Ideas, New Cities Summit, Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) America and the Gathering of Leaders. He also delivered his first TED talk at TEDCity2.0 where he discussed shaping the future of one of America’s most diverse cities.

While in office, Mayor Reed received numerous accolades for his role in leading the City of Atlanta to unprecedented growth and fiscal stability. In 2011, Governing Magazine named Mayor Reed as one of the top state and local government officials of the year. Thomas Friedman, the Pulitzer-Prize winning New York Times columnist and author of That Used to Be Us, called Reed “inspiring” and labeled him as “one of the best of this new breed of leaders.” In his book We Can All Do Better, former U.S. Senator Bill Bradley cited Reed’s straightforward approach in successfully reforming the city’s pension plan and wrote: “We need more of that kind of candor.” And David Axelrod, former Chief Strategist for President Barack Obama, called him “the most dynamic Mayor in America.”

In 2013, he was ranked among the top ten most influential African Americans in the nation by The Root, a publication of the Washington Post Company. He received the Distinguished Leadership Award from the National Forum for Black Public Administrators, and The Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies in Washington D.C. honored him with the Louis E. Martin Great American Award, saying he “heralds a new and creative approach to leadership.”

As a champion for Atlanta and the State of Georgia, Mayor Reed served on a number of advisory committees. He is the former Chairman of the Transportation and Communications Committee of the U.S. Conference of Mayors and former Chairman of the Regional Transit Committee of the Atlanta Regional Commission. He is a graduate member of the Aspen Institute-Rodel Fellowship Class of 2007, Leadership Georgia Class of 2000 and Leadership Atlanta Class of 1998.

Prior to his election, Mayor Reed established a track record of leadership during his eleven (11) years as a member of the Georgia General Assembly. He was elected to the Georgia House of Representatives in 1998 and served two terms. From 2002 to 2009, he served in the Georgia State Senate, where he was Vice Chairman of the Senate Democratic Caucus. He is a former partner of Holland and Knight LLP, an international law firm.

Mayor Reed is a graduate of Howard University in Washington D.C., where he received his Bachelor of Arts and Juris Doctor degrees. He also has honorary degrees from several other institutions. As an undergraduate member of Howard University’s Board of Trustees, he created a fundraising program that has contributed more than $10 million to the school’s endowment since its inception. Mayor Reed was appointed as Howard University’s youngest General Trustee in June 2002 and currently serves as a dedicated Trustee Emeriti.

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Walter Reeves

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Roosevelt Searles III

Website: 

https://www.rooseveltthepeoplesmayor.org/

Biography:
  • Serial Entrepreneur

  • Author 

  • Non-Profit Founder

  • Business Coach

  • Philanthropist

Platform:
  • PUBLIC SAFETY - The People's Patrol, protect and serve quotas, drone and aviation dept., human trafficking task force.
  • HOMELESS CRISIS - city-ran paramilitary-style boot camp and city-ran affordable housing
  • POLICE BRUTALITY - new checks and balances system. The People's Public Safety Authority
  • Authorize a city-ran hospital
  • Limitation of city fines for minor traffic offenses
  • Deregulate the business sector -- creation of The Millennial Entrepreneurship Fund aimed at providing grants and loans to qualified Millennials
  • Revitalize city code enforcement -- address apartment complexes and impose/enforce city fines, maintain city-owned lots and property
  • Audit and investigate each city department -- require financial report within 5 weeks after inauguration
  • Limit the number of dollar stores within certain area -- creation of a city-ran market (The People's Market)

Richard Wright

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Glenn Wrightson

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HOUSING:

  • Reduce excess expenditures of the city government so as to lessen the tax burden when and wherever possible

  • Work to lower water and sewer rates, since large capital expenditures have been moved into the future

  • Work to remove the new 911 call center surcharge on the solid waste bills

  • Work to terminate nonproducing employees and noneffective positions

  • Work to give raises to city employees

  • Work to allow city police to drive patrol cars home two times a week if they live in the city

  • Work to rework property assessment formula and mechanics to limit increases in property assessments

  • Others—as prudent

HOMELESSNESS:

  • Small facilities are favorable to large concentrated accommodations. I would add that the homeless be allowed to sort recycled goods in a centralized location and be paid a wage out of the sale of recycled materials. Also I recommend the city invest and open a tire-shredding facility where the homeless may work, with the goal of producing asphalt for road surfacing and with the profit shared with the workers.

ATL Sales Tax Money:

  • Partition the funds into today’s projects and tomorrow’s build-outs. Priority No. 1 ahead of all other expenditures is to build at least one mile of mass-transit rail line per year. [We need to] have that be a mutually accepted goal. Next [would be to create] a centralized traffic signal control center, then a bus trolley on major roadways. We need to prepare and build charging stations for more electric automobiles and trucks and build transit around BeltLine and connect that to MARTA.