Letter to the Editor: Michael Johnson is best choice to lead Statesville
To the Editor:
Admittedly, I sat on the sidelines during the Statesville mayoral race through the general election. But after seeing the results of the city council races, I decided that if I want to see Statesville continue to grow, prosper and have the vitality that has developed during the past 10 years, I had to publicly endorse Michael Johnson for mayor.
I have nothing negative to say about Mayor Costi Kutteh. I respect him as a lawyer, as a businessman and as our mayor. I simply believe that Michael Johnson is better suited to lead Statesville into the future.
Michael Johnson is a visionary who gets things done. As part of the group that developed the downtown streetscape project, he understood that one of the first things new industries do when they come to size up Statesville as a potential site is to look at the downtown. It was pitiful before and filled with vitality now. The difference is remarkable. Despite the political ramifications, Michael recognized that being in the midst of an economic downturn was the perfect time to get this done. Contractors had nothing to do and bid the project in low to get the work. Mindful of the tax dollars being used, Michael also helped arrange low-interest financing to keep costs down. Even the naysayers think the end result is beautiful.
Michael’s leadership as the vice chairman of CRTPO has helped bring in millions of dollars from the state and federal governments for improvements to our local transportation systems. Our airport is becoming a huge economic driver for Statesville and Iredell County due to improvements from funding sources that Michael sought out and delivered. Projects like the Larkin Regional Industrial Park would not be happening without these transportation improvements and Michael’s leadership.
I personally believe that if Michael is not elected Mayor, we will see the end of the Vance Hotel rehabilitation. Putting upwards of 50 full-time residents in downtown Statesville will be a game changer. If that project is killed, the hotel will continue to deteriorate and ultimately be demolished. If it is rehabilitated and is filled with upwardly mobile people who will be spending their money in Statesville, it will generate revenue that goes back on the tax rolls.
I have worked on several boards and committees with Michael. He is a leader and a consensus builder. We have made great strides in Statesville over the past 10 years. Don’t let that stop now. Please join me in voting Michael Johnson for Statesville mayor in the Nov. 7 run-off election.