Looking Back at My First Year as Atlanta’s Freshman Councilman

As a first-time elected official I was excited and maybe even a bit idealistic about how I would be able to fulfill my campaign promises to be an active and engaged Councilman, if elected. Well be careful what you ask for because I hit the ground running on some key issues that were important to me and that I heard from residents were important to them. Issues like more affordable housing, more services and educational opportunities for young people and innovative programs that increase job placement for Atlantans.

Some of Dickens’ key accomplishments so far include:

[alert style="info"]The Atlanta City Council unanimously passed Dickens’ City of Atlanta and Atlanta Public Schools Resolution, which formally expresses the Council’s support for an ongoing partnership with the Atlanta Public Schools through a joint committee to share policy goals to be implemented by the City and school administrations.[/alert]

[alert style="info"]As a Councilmember and a Board Member of both Invest Atlanta and the BeltLine, he has initiated and supported policies that encourage affordable housing throughout the City of Atlanta. One of those examples includes the Affordable Housing Impact Statement Legislation, which is currently in committee.[/alert]

[alert style="info"]He also supported the City Lights Apartments development that dedicates affordable rental housing for Atlanta’s fasting growing population, its elderly.[/alert]

[alert style="info"]He authored an amendment that was passed by the Invest Atlanta Board that requires all of the proceeds from the sale of a property adjacent to the Eastside Trail to be used for the development of affordable housing on the BeltLine.[/alert]

[alert style="info"]In 2014 Atlanta City Council unanimously agreed to a resolution that Dickens sponsored – preserving the connectivity to Martin Luther King Jr. Drive. The resolution urged the mayor, planners, and developers for the new Falcons stadium to take immediate action on devising a plan to retain its current connectivity to downtown Atlanta.[/alert]

[alert style="info"]Councilman Dickens supported the redevelopment of the historic 11-story Flatiron Building into an incubator for entrepreneurship in downtown Atlanta. The development is expected to include 36,000 square feet of workspace for more than 300 startups and entrepreneurs. Microsoft plans to work with the Atlanta Women’s Entrepreneurship Initiative (WEI) to create a Microsoft Innovation Center (MIC) in the iconic building[/alert]

[alert style="info"]He co-sponsored the City of Atlanta Innovation Center, Demonstration Project to accelerate business growth by providing entrepreneurs an opportunity to beta test their products/ideas by accessing City resources.[/alert]

[alert style="info"]As the Community Development-Human Resources Chair, Dickens made a commitment to revive the Youth Commission. The Youth Commission addresses issues relevant to Atlanta’s youth regarding policy and legislation that impacts young people.[/alert]

[alert style="info"]The Atlanta City Council voted to approve a “ban the box” legislation that was co-sponsored by Andre Dickens and other council members. The City of Atlanta no longer requires applicants to reveal prior convictions on employment applications. The legislation made it policy except when state and/or federal laws require criminal background investigations for specific positions, like those that involve work with children, positions in law enforcement, and other sensitive positions. Each year the City of Atlanta and Fulton County have 2,400 people returning home from Georgia’s jails and prisons seeking employment. Ban the Box is a national movement designed to give job applicants with criminal histories a fair chance to compete for jobs.[/alert]

[alert style="info"]As a result of 2014 snowstorms, Dickens initiated and led the drafting of legislation to engage Georgia Tech in becoming involved in efforts to review the City’s preparedness plan for natural disasters. The Atlanta City Council approved legislation to request and authorize the Georgia Institute of Technology to assist the City Utilities Committee in assessing the City of Atlanta’s Natural Disaster Emergency Response Plan[/alert]

While we have been able to make progress on some issues, there is a lot more to do and I am committed to continue to work toward making Atlanta better for decades to come.