Video introduction to follow soon.
If rumors are to be believed, the 2011 race for Covington mayor is expected to be a crowded one, but Ronnie Johnston is the first to officially announce he will challenge incumbent Kim Carter in November.
Johnston, 47, has lived in Covington for three years and most recently served as the chief operating officer for Nanston, a family business in Norcross that he helped build with his father and three brothers. Nanston was a group of 14 dental offices and 400 employees that provided care in the Atlanta area.
He now works as a part-time consultant with entrepreneurs.
After attending recent budget and council meetings, Johnston said he's seen a city in flux, one that needs a good communicator and listener. His family sold Nanston in June 2010, which has provided Johnston with an opportunity to become more involved in his community.
"I believe everyone has good traits, but in order to discover those you have to be patient and listen. I thought that was missing at the city meetings," Johnston said Friday. "I helped build the dental business. It was a challenge to get people to tolerate each other. I did that with family. You can't fire your family. You can't fire the council. You have to work with them."
Johnston chose to run for mayor instead of council because he believes he has the skills needed for the position and could have a more significant affect on the community in that position.
"I've done the budget thing. I've built a company with my dad and brothers," he said. "I met people though First United Methodist Church, Chris Smith and others, and I said ‘I need to get more involved.' I started going to the meeting and I thought I could help out."
If elected, Johnston said he would want to focus on developing a more standardized cost/benefit process for elected officials' decisions.
"There's always a cost perspective and a feeling perspective. It seems that the feeling perspective almost becomes dominant in these discussions," he said.
He pointed to the city's library funding with discussion, where the council was split about whether to double its annual funding. Some council members expressed concern that the public might think they didn't care about children.
"I'm sure everybody cares about children, so is there a way to look at it more logically," Johnson said. "That's a challenge I'm excited about."
He also wants to continue efforts to revitalize the square and downtown Covington, and bridge the disconnect between the city's leaders, as well as the city's history and its future.
"People only want good things for the city, but we need to get people on the same page. It's important to preserve history, but also to prepare for what's next," he said. "The mayor is over the whole city, and I feel that's the best position to get things addressed.
Johnston has also attended Main Street Covington meetings and is takinga tour of the police station in efforts to become acquainted with city operations.
He is married to Kelley and has four children, Brittany, Zac, Katie and Sidney.
Johnston attended two years of college, but did not get a degree, instead going into the family business. He is active in his church, serving on the administrative council and supporting a mission to Nicaragua.
Johnston can be reached by email at email@example.com, by cell at 770-262-1001, on Facebook or by tweet at Johnston4Mayor.