Letter to the Editor: Mayoral candidate Michael Johnson is best choice to lead city
To the Editor:
In February, I was honored to be recognized as Statesville's 2016 Citizen of the Year, a humbling and proud moment after many years of working endless hours to "Make Statesville Great Again" through organizations such as the Downtown Statesville Development Corporation, the Greater Statesville Chamber of Commerce, and later, Carolina Balloonfest.
As I look back on this journey, there were two key factors that kept me moving forward and raising my hand to volunteer yet again: my love of our community and the belief that its best days were ahead, and, secondly, the encouragement and motivation from others who shared my vision and were willing to join the fight behind the scenes to start the positive changes that you see and feel on our streets today. Without community leaders like David Bradley, Marin Tomlin and current and past progressive members of the City Council, my enthusiastic involvement and that of many others would have waned years ago for failure of turning visions into realities.
What many people don't know is that a very large part of our efforts -- and in my opinion our great success -- was quietly led primarily by one man, Michael Johnson.
Michael understands "the big picture" and knows well what steps we must take for Statesville to gain higher paying jobs, affordable housing, better shopping choices, and an overall enhanced quality of life. And yet he also is prepared to defend and maintain our community identity and "slower pace" in the face of growth, as opposed to the uncontrolled chaos a few short miles south of us. This is demonstrated by his staunch support for the preservation of our historic districts.
Beginning with his leadership throughout Streetscape and continuing with projects such as our airport expansion, waste water treatment, transportation needs, and industrial growth, there has not been a more important individual in our city government for the past 10 years. I have witnessed this from the inside and am now watching from the outside. Against odds, Michael has built consensus among council and community leaders to move our community forward and overcome the obstacles that for too many years have left Statesville as anything but a "City of Progress."
His commitment many years ago to include South Statesville in revitalization plans are finally coming to fruition with the purchase of land for a Public Safety Center on Shelton Avenue. I fully expect the "remodeling" of this important corridor to our town will follow shortly thereafter with the much- anticipated "third phase" of Streetscape.
In short, there is simply not enough room to list all the endeavors Michael has been at the forefront of in his quest to prepare Statesville for a better and more prosperous future, and he has done this without desire for recognition or credit.
In closing, indications are that should Michael's run for Mayor of Statesville be unsuccessful, he may vacate his seat on Council after 14 years and bring his tenure of public service to an end. This would be a tremendous loss for our town and those who share my belief that Statesville is finally beginning to turn the corner, and remarkable change is at our doorstep. We need Michael Johnson's leadership, intelligence, and ability to use his extensive resources -- locally, regionally, and even nationally -- to guide Statesville during the next four years and allow us to capitalize on the investments our city has already made. For that reason, I strongly, whole-heartedly and proudly endorse Michael Johnson for Mayor of Statesville. My hope is that you will join me in your support and take the time to vote for Mike on October 10.