The 38-year-old Underwood Hills resident and Georgia Tech administrative staffer is currently running against an embattled incumbent H. Lamar Willis and former state Rep. Ralph Long III, D-Atlanta. City Hall observers have touted Dickens among strongest candidates in this year's city elections. As the AJC's Jim Galloway points out, he has received a strong endorsement from Franklin.
The former mayor writes in a letter:
As many of you know, before I was elected mayor of Atlanta, some people discounted my candidacy because I was a first-time candidate and others because my name recognition was low. As a candidate who faced similar challenges and won, my support is neither naïve or misplaced.
Andre offers an alternative to an incumbent whose questionable ethical judgment has been well documented. Andre is smart and honest. He is committed to listening and learning from the experts and the community as he makes decisions.
As we've noted in last month's friendly municipal war chest round-up, the latest campaign finance reports showed that Dickens has an impressive $62,213 on hand. Meanwhile, Willis currently has amassed $16,210 in his warchest. Long just announced his campaign and has not yet filed a disclosure.
Franklin recently turned some heads when she launched a new website, which some political pundits suggested could signal a return to politics. (She even teased the possibility on Twitter.) It's worth noting that by backing Dickens, the ex-mayor is supporting the opponent of one of Willis, who's of Mayor Kasim Reed's allies on Council. Reed managed Franklin's two mayoral campaigns.
After the jump, Franklin's full letter of support, which also landed in our inbox.
I am writing to introduce you to a young man whom I have known for more than twenty three years. Andre Dickens is a first time candidate seeking the Atlanta City Council-Post 3 At Large seat in the upcoming election. Currently this seat is held by H. Lamar Willis.
Andre is a fifth generation Atlantan and graduate of the Atlanta Public Schools system and Georgia Institute of Technology. A business owner for nearly a decade, he currently serves as the Assistant Director for the Office of Institute Diversity at Georgia Tech. While his professional life is relevant, it is his principled commitment to doing what is right and his commitment to honesty as his top priority that has warranted my public support.
I remember how important it was for me as a first time candidate to have Atlanta leaders introduce me to civic and business leaders. Tom Cousins, Andrew Young, Elaine Alexander, John Lewis and Maynard Jackson made calls and wrote letters to make those introductions.
I fully understand that as a first-time candidate, name recognition will be one of Andre's obstacles but I am choosing to support a candidate whose integrity outweighs his popularity. As many of you know, before I was elected mayor of Atlanta, some people discounted my candidacy because I was a first time candidate and others because my name recognition was so low. As a candidate who faced similar challenges and won, my support is neither naïve or misplaced.
Andre offers an alternative to an incumbent whose questionable ethical judgment has been well documented. Andre is smart and honest. He is committed to listening and learning from the experts and the community as he makes decisions. Tough decisions require the ability to think through issues and to analyze the data through a filter of compassion. His community involvement and critical thinking decision approach to issues as well as his pledge to transparency in government are important for any candidate but it is essential for someone seeking office for the first time.
I trust Atlantans want honesty, intelligence and a commitment to what is in the best interest of the common good and will have the courage to support candidates who speak and act honorably. Andre has earned my respect and support and I hope you offer him an opportunity to earn yours. His website is www.AndreDickens.com and he's assured me he will meet with you when you contact him.
Like you I care deeply about the success of Atlanta for all the people who live, work and invest here.
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