The fifth generation Atlantan and first time public office candidate, Councilman Andre D. Dickens was elected citywide to the Atlanta City Council Post 3 at Large in November 2013. The Councilman currently serves as the chairman of the Public Safety & Legal Administration Committee and is a member of the Community Development & Human Services Committee and Transportation Committees. He previously served as the chairman of the Community Development & Human Services Committee as well as on the boards of the Atlanta Beltline, Invest Atlanta, and the Center for Civil and Human Rights.
Dickens is a proud product of the Atlanta Public School System where he graduated in the top two percent of his class at Benjamin E Mays High School. Dickens earned his Bachelors degree in Chemical Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology in 1998. In 2013, he earned his Master’s of Public Administration in Economic Development at Georgia State University’s Andrew Young School of Policy Studies.
In 1999, Dickens began working for DSM Engineering Plastics and in 2002 he co-founded City Living Home Furnishings in Atlanta, a family-operated business that grew into a multi-million dollar business with two locations and over 20 employees. City Living won numerous awards including Atlanta’s Best Contemporary Furniture store (2005) and one of the top 50 furniture retailers in the nation by Home Accents magazine. Dickens oversaw City Living’s operations, finances, and marketing efforts until 2010.
He returned to his alma mater to serve as the Assistant Director of Outreach Initiatives for Georgia Tech’s Office of Institute Diversity. He managed the graduate school recruitment program and helps hundreds of undergraduate students each year successfully transition into college life.
In 2016, Dickens became the Georgia Community Leader for TechBridge, a nonprofit that drives community impact by bringing affordable technology and business expertise to other nonprofits. Andre is charged with building relationships with large nonprofits across the US. TechBridge’s mission to ultimately reduce poverty through technology aligns perfectly with Andre’s personal mission and attracted him to this role that he enjoys.
In his short tenure as Post 3 At-Large Councilmember he has become a vocal and legislative activist in promoting quality educational opportunities for Atlanta Public School students, ensuring that affordable housing is a significant component of Atlanta’s future economic growth, improving transportation across the city, improving permitting processes, and enabling seniors to live comfortable lives in the city.
Some of Dickens’ key accomplishments so far include:
• 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.
• Co-sponsored legislation and led the creation of the critical details of the $40 million Housing Opportunity Bond issuance for 2017 which will fund important initiatives including homeowner renovations, multifamily loans, single family loans, nonprofit development loans and land assemblage for affordable and workforce housing development.
• Authored and passed legislation in 2017 for a feasibility study to create a single transportation-focused department, an Atlanta department of transportation (DOT) within the city of Atlanta that will design, operate, manage and maintain the city of Atlanta’s transportation system and transit projects and infrastructure.
• 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. Working with the Administration, other Councilmembers, Invest Atlanta, members of the nonprofit sector and for profit housing professionals and housing advocates, Dickens sponsored and passed an ordinance to ensure that any multi-family residential for lease development using public moneys through a development authority would need to set aside either 10% of the units for families at 60% Area Median Income (AMI) and below or 15% of the units for families at 80% AMI and below.
• Dickens led the effort to pass Affordable Housing Impact Statement Legislation in 2015 which has now become a model legislation for other cities across the nation.
• 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 Westside of the BeltLine for seniors to have resources to stay in their homes and not be displaced.
• 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.
• In 2014, the Atlanta Business League named the new councilmember one of Atlanta’s Men of Influence.
• 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.
• 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.
• Dickens authored legislation to revive the Youth Commission and repopulate its board. The Youth Commission addresses issues relevant to Atlanta’s youth regarding policy and legislation that impacts young people.
• 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.
• 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.