Peter Lars Johnson: Fostering a culture of candidness and collaboration

Published: Friday, March 1, 2013 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, February 28, 2013 at 2:31 p.m.

I believe Gainesville is a good city — a good place to live, a good place to work and a good place to play.

I also believe Gainesville can be a great city: a city that thrives with innovation, where everyone who wants to work can find a job and where companies choose to plant roots and grow — all the while continuing our legacy of natural abundance and beauty.

Because I believe in this, I know I can be your leader and take Gainesville from good to great.

My inspiration to run for mayor came from my service on the city plan board, where I witnessed the good things about Gainesville, but also came to understand what was keeping us from becoming one of the greatest cities in America.

There are five key pillars that are critical to the success of Gainesville: 1) economic opportunity, 2) excellent public education, 3) efficient transportation, 4) an attractive healthy environment and 5) an inviting, diverse culture.

Economic opportunity and vitality continue to be a priority for the health and well-being of our city. Innovation Gainesville is off to a fantastic start; however, true economic success has to mean jobs and opportunities for traditional occupations and high-tech ventures alike. By listening and learning from one another, we can sustain and expand these efforts to catapult Gainesville to becoming truly great.

One of my goals is to promote city leadership that is open, respectful and positive. I want to foster a culture of candidness and collaboration that inspires solutions to meet every challenge that comes our way.

As mayor, I will lead our charter officers and city employees on a path to take a citizen-centered approach to serving you. When every citizen gets treated with an exceptional level of service, our community will improve dramatically.

As mayor, I will engage our diverse community and bring it together in support of education. Our parents, teachers and students need the passionate support of our entire community to achieve excellence in education. Outstanding public education will attract new businesses and retain and grow our existing ones, creating more jobs in Gainesville.

Transportation is a key component of our quality of life. Gainesville has an impressive history of leadership with cycling lanes and transit. Now, we need to focus on road maintenance, attracting additional airline service and increasing non-student bus ridership.

An attractive healthy environment is vital to sustaining our city, and major environmental issues, such as Cabot Koppers, need to be funded and resolved. The toxins sitting on the property and that of adjacent properties need to be cleaned up without further delay.

An inviting diverse culture is crucial to achieving greatness. We are a diverse community. We need to nurture diversity and celebrate it. Continued support and promotion of the arts is key in nurturing our diversity. Diversity encourages innovation, attracts talent and can help our city move from good to great.

Please honor me with your vote on March 19.

Peter Lars Johnson is one of six candidates for Gainesville mayor.

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