Atlanta’s Future Mayors?

By: Ashley Nelson

Atlanta front-runner candidate for mayor, Mary Norwood finds herself in the same position eight years ago against former Atlanta mayor Kasim Reed. Does Norwood have what it takes to win the election, become Atlanta’s first white mayor in 43 years?

With the general election only a few days away, Atlanta politics could usher in a new era for the city with Post 2 At-Large councilwoman leading the polls. Chief Operating Officer Peter Aman and councilwoman Keisha Lance Bottoms trail behind.

Norwood joined Newsmakers Live for two-part election series following fellow councilman Andre Dicken, attentively listening to Dickens’s optimism for the new city government aside from the City Hall scandal. Dickens proposed to work alongside the next mayor in shaping Atlanta’s future. Dickens is currently seeking re-election as Post 1 At-Large councilman.

Norwood ensures she has the potential to bring the city together, a champion for the quality of life in Atlanta. She is active in every community and neighborhood in the city, meeting the people where they are. Being familiar with Atlanta communities and residents is an essential aspect of the mayor of the city. Norwood showed her dedication and commitment to residents. For communities with older residents who do not have access to cable television or the internet, Norwood went the extra mile of printing flyers to place on every door.

A public servant, councilwoman, and potentially Atlanta’s next mayor, Norwood familiarized herself with every street, neighborhood, and community in the city. Twenty-five years of service, Norwood has gained support across the city by running an inclusive campaign to set her apart from other candidates.

“People know when you care about them…Atlanta has had a sewer mayor, a real estate mayor, and I think it is the time we have a community mayor,” said Norwood.

Norwood cares, striving to take the politics out of politics. She hopes to create a new government and move beyond the old divisions hindering the city’s growth. Norwood vows a transparent government, making all transactions and receipts available to the public. Everyone should have full public access to city records; after all, they are paying for it.

In addition, Norwood wants to provide a direct line of communication with every neighborhood in the city. Each neighborhood in Atlanta is uniquely different and requires certain things. It is time the government hears from its people, they know their community best.

In preparation for future Atlanta residents, Norwood is anxious to partner with the new commissioner to implement his plan of protecting the “City of the Forests”. Neighborhoods as conservation areas. The plan will help Atlanta prepare for a possible influx of 8,000 people. Future development will occur on the commercial charters of the city to preserve the community green space. Unfamiliar with development locations, Norwood lists Bolton Rd and Fulton Industrial among the areas for development.

Looking to break Atlanta’s black mayoral streak, Norwood believes race is not a factor in this election. The connection of service you have to the people is all that matters the most for her, meeting the people where they are. The world is constantly changing, and so is Atlanta – considered to be the international city in a global region now. Norwood said, “for Atlanta to take and continue its place on the world stage, this needs to be an election where everyone votes for everyone.”

With a new mayor, city council president, and council in the works, Post 3 At-Large unopposed city councilman, Andre Dickens’s goal is to create a well-rounded city through council deliberations and addressing the public more to hear them better. Four years ago, Dickens knocked off 12-year vet H. Lamar Willis and is now set to become the second most seasoned black member on the council and possibly, Atlanta’s next mayor to come. Dickens wants to be the guy whose mom would run two-grocery aisle over to shake his hand.

“One day, God willing, and a whole bunch other great things happen. One day, I will be able to sit in this chair as a mayoral candidate versus re-election for city council,” Dickens said.