SUFFOLK, Va. (WVEC) - Linda Johnson says she is looking forward to continuing her course as mayor of Suffolk. Johnson is facing four opponents next Tuesday. She is confident her accomplishments over the last 10 years will carry her through another term.
“I’m proud of our fiscal standings, because we have two AAA ratings. Hopefully we’ll get the third in a year here. We started out having some difficulties with finances about 10 years ago, and we're just so strong today,” she said.
Johnson wants to continue making improvements in transportation, touting efforts to improve Route 58. Moving forward, she wants to focus on a better quality of life for citizens.
“The big thing to me is to have our people jobs, employment. And with that goes education, with that goes economic development, and certainly transportation as well, because you have to be able to move around and get people to their jobs,” she said.
Opponent Brian Bass says Johnson has done a good job, but that it's time for a fresh face. He wants to be proactive instead of reactive when it comes to building schools. He says city council needs to have less closed door meetings, saying transparency is vital.
Bass is also focused on improving infrastructure and revitalizing downtown.
“A lot of citizens have shared with me their concerns that most of the money and attention is given to the northern side of Suffolk. And I think that’s true, somewhat. People down there need attention and want attention and we need to give it to them,” he said.
Candidate Kerry Holmes says education is his number one priority, saying schools have been underfunded for too long. He also wants to increase funding for fire and police departments.
“They’re leaving with trucks and police vehicles that are not fully manned and that’s a big safety issue for the city,” he said.
Holmes is criticizing Mayor Johnson for the way she's funded her campaign, saying it's time for someone who is open and honest.
“As a real estate agent, she has had what seems to be dealings with big banks and special interests that I have been purposeful to stay away from. So our campaign financing has been small dollar amounts by local citizens. So I think that is the approach that if elected by citizens on November 8th, that I would take,” he said.
Candidates Charles Lee Scott Sr. and Geral Staten are also on the ballot. At 31 years old, Staten is the youngest person ever to run for Suffolk mayor. Staten does have a criminal record of domestic violence, but says it's in the past and that he's learned from those mistakes.