Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens courts Legislature at annual Eggs & Issues Breakfast

Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens speaks at the Georgia Chamber’s “Eggs & Issues” breakfast at the Fox Theatre in downtown Atlanta, Georgia on January 12th, 2022. (Nathan Posner for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Credit: Nathan Posner for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

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Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens speaks at the Georgia Chamber’s “Eggs & Issues” breakfast at the Fox Theatre in downtown Atlanta, Georgia on January 12th, 2022. (Nathan Posner for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Credit: Nathan Posner for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens asked state lawmakers to form new relationships with his administration during his speech at the Georgia Chamber’s annual Eggs & Issues breakfast.

Dickens was part of a lineup of speakers that also featured Gov. Brian Kemp, Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan, House Speaker David Ralston, U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock, and Georgia Chamber President and CEO Chris Clark. The event gives state leaders an opportunity to preview the challenges ahead as the legislative session begins.

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On Wednesday morning, Dickens told the 200-plus members of Georgia’s House and Senate that Atlanta will continue to play a critical role in driving the state’s economy despite surges in violent crime over the last two years. He didn’t explicitly mention the Republican-led push to split the Buckhead community from Atlanta, but the democratic mayor did unveil plans to debut a new Buckhead police precinct Thursday.

“We started the work on day one, addressing the issue of crime in our city. This is a concern of all of ours, and while some may want to use this to break us apart, we know that as a city, we are stronger together,” Dickens said, eliciting applause.

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Governor Brian Kemp (R-GA) is seen at the Georgia Chamber’s “Eggs & Issues” breakfast at the Fox Theatre in downtown Atlanta, Georgia on January 12th, 2022. (Nathan Posner for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Credit: Nathan Posner for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Governor Brian Kemp (R-GA) is seen at the Georgia Chamber’s “Eggs & Issues” breakfast at the Fox Theatre in downtown Atlanta, Georgia on January 12th, 2022. (Nathan Posner for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Credit: Nathan Posner for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

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Governor Brian Kemp (R-GA) is seen at the Georgia Chamber’s “Eggs & Issues” breakfast at the Fox Theatre in downtown Atlanta, Georgia on January 12th, 2022. (Nathan Posner for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Credit: Nathan Posner for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Credit: Nathan Posner for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Dickens acknowledged rises in violence across cities nationwide as he promised Atlanta would address their crime issues from all sides. He vowed to address the root causes of crime through the creation of the Atlanta Department of Labor. He said the new department would streamline partnerships between Invest Atlanta, the private sector, workforce development agencies, the unions and other groups to increase employment in the city.

He voiced optimism in that task due to the prevalence of tech companies ranging from Apple, Amazon and Google that do business in the city. The Georgia Tech alum spoke in a bipartisan manner as he sought to build rapport with state leaders.

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“To Georgia lawmakers in this room this morning, there are about 400 steps between Atlanta City Hall and the Gold Dome,” Dickens said in reference to the State Capitol building adjacent to the city’s main administrative building.

“I don’t mind crossing the street to come see you to engage with you in person. And I hope you don’t mind to come over to City Hall and do the same with me.”

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Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens speaks at the Georgia Chamber’s “Eggs & Issues” breakfast at the Fox Theatre in downtown Atlanta, Georgia on January 12th, 2022. (Nathan Posner for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Credit: Nathan Posner for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens speaks at the Georgia Chamber’s “Eggs & Issues” breakfast at the Fox Theatre in downtown Atlanta, Georgia on January 12th, 2022. (Nathan Posner for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Credit: Nathan Posner for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

caption arrowCaption
Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens speaks at the Georgia Chamber’s “Eggs & Issues” breakfast at the Fox Theatre in downtown Atlanta, Georgia on January 12th, 2022. (Nathan Posner for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Credit: Nathan Posner for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Credit: Nathan Posner for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

The native Atlantan even elicited some laughter from state leaders as he reflected on Monday’s national football championship victory by the University of Georgia Bulldogs.

“I stand here in my red tie as a reminder that I have this theme that I draw circles. I don’t draw lines to divide us. I’m a bulldog,” Dickens joked, reiterating a catch-phrase from his campaign and transition.

The annual event occurred at the Fox Theatre after it was held virtually last year due to the coronavirus pandemic. Some of the other speakers thanked Dickens for his remarks.

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Speaker David Ralston (R-GA) speaks at the Georgia Chamber’s “Eggs & Issues” breakfast at the Fox Theatre in downtown Atlanta, Georgia on January 12th, 2022. (Nathan Posner for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Credit: Nathan Posner for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Speaker David Ralston  (R-GA) speaks at the Georgia Chamber’s “Eggs & Issues” breakfast at the Fox Theatre in downtown Atlanta, Georgia on January 12th, 2022. (Nathan Posner for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Credit: Nathan Posner for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

caption arrowCaption
Speaker David Ralston (R-GA) speaks at the Georgia Chamber’s “Eggs & Issues” breakfast at the Fox Theatre in downtown Atlanta, Georgia on January 12th, 2022. (Nathan Posner for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Credit: Nathan Posner for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Credit: Nathan Posner for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

During Clark’s speech, the Georgia Chamber President and CEO expressed a willingness to work with Dickens to address criminal gang activity and human trafficking in the city and regionwide. House Speaker Ralston said he’s looking forward to working with Dickens to address crime.

“Let’s draw some circles together guys, and give each other a little bit of time and a little bit of grace to be able to work well together in this great state of Georgia,” Dickens said.

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