Editor’s note: This is the third part of a series that profiles candidates running in the 2013 mayoral race.
Pete Johnson wants to take Gainesville from good to great.
“My dream is if you raise a family here and your kids want to live here, they’re going to find plenty of opportunity to stay here,” he said. “They don’t necessarily have to move because of lack of economic opportunity.”
Johnson, 59, is running for mayor in Tuesday’s city elections on a platform of making the city more business friendly, increasing access to information, and promoting an open and respectful government.
If elected, Johnson said he wants to boost business growth by making regulations more understandable.
“I respect the rules and regulations we have, but we ought to make it as easy for anyone to learn what they are and how to abide by our rules and regulations,” he said.
He said he believes in participatory leadership and encourages public comment, adding good ideas from the public deserve more attention.
“I think we would set the stage for moving this city from being a good college town to a great city,” he said.
Johnson moved from New York to Gainesville in 1978 to attend UF. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in business administration in 1979 and then spent the next 30 years in business leadership roles. He also served on the Gainesville-Alachua County Regional Airport Authority board from 2004 to 2009.
Johnson went into politics following his time with the City Plan Board because it “really crystallized in my mind that the city could use a different style of leadership.”
“My background in business and running different companies, and starting a leadership institute at UF made me feel like I could bring something different that could help change the culture,” he said.
Kim Mitrook first met Johnson in 2007. She said Johnson is well-rounded and stays true to his roots
“He’s very honest. He’s very straightforward,” she said. “I think that’s unusual for politicians. He understands the plight of everyone.”
City Plan Board member Pete Johnson is running for mayor. He worked in the private sector for about 30 years.