Who will become Augusta’s next mayor?
AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - On the line is the seat of Augusta’s mayor.
Voters will decide between Garnett Johnson and Steven Kendrick.
Johnson is an Augusta native. The son of a bus driver. He learned through Richmond County schools and graduated from Augusta University.
We caught up with Johnson and asked him not only why it’s important for Augusta to go out and vote but to choose him for mayor.
“For the first time since 2002, we have the opportunity through a runoff in a mayoral election to elect someone who moves this city forward. I’ll tell you, there’s one great differentiator, and I don’t have any government experience. I have business and real-world experience. I think that uniquely qualifies me to become the next mayor for the city of Augusta,” he said.
As someone who’s coming in as an outsider running for the Augusta government, Johnson’s main critique is that without Kendrick’s experience, he doesn’t have a plan.
“We’ve told you our plan since day one, and that’s three simple words: growth, action, and results. In 10 years, Augusta has only realized a 3% growth rate. I would say that pales in comparison to our neighboring counties. We’ve got to get Augusta growing again and winning again. We need someone who’s actionable and someone who’s results-oriented,” he said.
He says his favorite thing about the Garden City is that anyone can rise and make something of themselves here.
“I stand on the side of the taxpayer. I think at a time like this when, you know, inflation is at a 40-year high and gas is at an all-time high. We need someone that stands on the side of our citizens who sit on a fixed income, the seniors, and the other community struggling to pay for gas. We’re going to leap from the front. We’re not going to take the county vehicle, nor are we going to take a city-funded gas card. We’re going to show what leadership looks like from a fiscal way,” said Johnson.
We spoke to Kendrick about his platform and what he’s been up to since the primary. If elected, he wants to focus on economic development and beautification. Over the last month, Kendrick says he’s been working to remind people of his platform and Tuesday’s runoff in an effort to gain and keep support.
He says it’s all in an effort to become the next mayor of Augusta.
“I am super excited, glad the journey is almost over. I’m hoping that everybody comes out and makes a choice today. I’m hoping that choice is me. Today, we’ll know, and Augusta can move on to the next phase of its journey,” he said.
He says if he gets support and becomes the next mayor of Augusta, His main focus will be economic development and cleaning up the city. It’s part of his platform “Difference Day One.” Kendrick hopes his past government experience can help him achieve those goals if elected.
“Having been a part of our government for the last 13 years allows me to understand clearly what our next steps need to be, and working with those commissioners regularly, understanding our budgeting process, the HR process and all the operational parts of our government. We’re ready to make suggestions for improvement right away,” he said.
He’s feeling excited ahead of the race about how he would accomplish that difference if elected.
I want to make sure that my relationship with our commission puts together a together front for the community that we’re going to work together, we’re going to work efficiently, and we’re going to work smart. I’m just excited about what the possibilities are,” he said.
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