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Executive Director Of Atlanta Regional Commission Discusses City’s Progress, Challenges, Retirement

Doug Hooker, executive director of the Atlanta Regional Commission, recently announced that he’s retiring next March. Hooker joins “Closer Look” to discuss Atlanta’s changing economic infrastructure, his career and what lies ahead for him and the commission.
Doug Hooker, executive director of the Atlanta Regional Commission, recently announced that he’s retiring next March. Hooker joins “Closer Look” to discuss Atlanta’s changing economic infrastructure, his career and what lies ahead for him and the commission.
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The leader of an agency that’s tasked with developing a blueprint to address pressing issues facing metro Atlanta says the city has a lot to offer — as it relates to cultural amenities, neighborhoods, jobs and access to natural parks — but the city still struggles with challenges and systemic barriers.

“The challenges that we face still are very systemic, and, I think, fortunately, the protests and the actions of 2020 have awakened a lot of people to the systems and systemic barriers,” said Doug Hooker, executive director of the Atlanta Regional Commission.

Hooker, who recently announced his plans to retire next March, was a guest on Thursday’s edition of “Closer Look.”

During the virtual radio conversation, Hooker spoke candidly about several topics, including gentrification, poverty, racism, transit, education and the urgent need for politicians, city and business leaders and residents to maximize resources to make Atlanta equitable for everyone.

“I hope that my successor will be integral in helping our neighbors, friends and colleagues realize that we must act in this moment to fully realize that potential for all of us,” said Hooker, who has led the ARC for nearly a decade.

While reflecting on his tenure at the ARC, Hooker says he’s proud of his team and colleagues and the work they’ve done, citing the education initiative Learn4Life, the agency’s role in helping Atlanta conserve water and the establishment of the Atlanta-Region Transit Authority, among other initiatives that he says will have a long-lasting impact on the city.

To listen to the full conversation, click the audio player above.