Andrew Johnson

by Yes Weekly Election Coverage

Residential address: 5580 Bridgegate Drive, 27106

Incumbent or challenger? Challenger

Age: 32

Campaign website or blog: Facebook

Occupation and employer: Adjuster, the Hartford

Previous elective experience(including election campaigns): None

Civic and volunteerexperience (including service on local government commissions and boards): Member, Calvary Baptist Church; treasurer, Forsyth County Republican Party; precinct chair

Education (highest degreeattained and name of institution): BA in history and political science, UNC Charlotte

Party registration: Republican

Where were you born? Winston-Salem

Paid consultants working oncampaign: None

Campaign manager: Chris Shore

Treasurer: Self

Articles about thiscandidate:

• A primary challenge in a quiet ward (link)’ 

Themajority of Winston-Salem City Council declined to intervene in Kalvin MichaelSmith’s federal petition for a new trial although citizens have requested thatthe city take responsibility for a flawed police investigation that arguablyundermined the judicial process leading to Smith’s conviction in the brutalbeating of Jill Marker. What is your position on this matter? I agree with the majority of Winston-Salem City Council’s decision in thismatter. The city political leadership has no judicial authority, any action wouldhave been for show and only served to undermine our police departmentpublically. We should focus on making sure that our system is transparent inorder to increase trust in our police department and its investigations.

Doyou support the proposed Urban Circulator (streetcar or enhanced bus) thatwould connect Baptist Hospital and East Winston through downtown? Pleaseexplain why or why not.

No,I am not in support of the Urban Circulator. With two tax increases in the lasttwo years and four tax increases in the last six years, even if the streetcarprogram were built at no cost, which will not be the case, we cannot currentlyabsorb the annual maintenance fee’s at $4.3 million annually.

Citycouncil has focused on revitalizing downtown over the past 10 years, mostrecently approving the first entertainment district in the city. Should thecity continue to promote intensification of shared commercial and residentialuses in downtown or slow growth to protect existing businesses and homeowners?

Mycampaign is focused on ideas to promote the entire city of Winston-Salem. Ourdowntown is beautiful and exciting and I enjoy visiting it very much; however,I do not think any part of our city is more important than another. Winston-Salemis lagging behind other areas in similar size in North Carolina, and ourcurrent leadership’s plans are more of the same. We need to focus on economicgrowth policies that help to bring our area out of the economic doldrums of thepast decade rather than picking areas to win while leaving other areas behind.

Whiledowntown is vibrant and beautiful, areas to the immediate north and east areuninviting, underdeveloped and lacking in pedestrian-scale retail amenities.What, if anything, should be done to extend the vitality of downtown intooutlying areas?

Ourcity council has been focusing efforts on the downtown and closing its eyes to problemselsewhere in the city. We need a growth strategy of low taxes, reducingburdensome regulations, core city services and infrastructure that will makethe entire city open for business.

Whatrole should city council play in the Business 40 improvement project, includingrecommendations for traffic alignment through downtown when the project iscompleted?

Ourrole is to work with our state leadership and NC DOT to ensure that our citizens’needs and properties are protected. We must ensure that the project iscompleted timely with the least negative effect on our city.

Whatis your position on the use of incentives to promote economic development? Ifyou support incentives, why? If not, what other tools does city government havefor promoting job growth?

I’mnot a fan of the city government picking winner and losers. Taking tax dollarsfrom businesses that have invested and helped to build our community overdecades of operation in order to pay someone else’s way into the communityseems unfair. While the current market forces may make these programs anecessary evil for the time being, making our city more business friendlyacross the board will help our current businesses and future businesses andshould be a focus of our economic policy.

Whatis your proudest achievement?

Easy,my son Samuel. He’s eight months old and the greatest thing I’ve ever been apart of.

What’syour favorite way to unwind in Winston-Salem?

Thereare so many things to do in Winston-Salem like football at Wake, Bowman GrayRacing, Old Salem, the Muddy Creek Greenway and so many great restaurants andshopping. Any time I get at any of these places enjoying my wife and son is aperfect day for me. I cannot wait to take my son to his first Dixie ClassicFair this fall. I’m sure I’ll have more fun than him seeing his eyes light upat the lights, sounds and people.