The field of eight candidates vying to be Brunswick’s next mayor was reduced to two on Nov. 2 with Cosby Johnson and Ivan Figueroa emerging from the pack to qualify for the runoff.
Early voting for the runoff to decide Brunswick’s next mayor is currently underway with the runoff Election Day set for Nov 30.
The News sent out questionnaires to both candidates asking for their stances on a variety of topics. Here are the responses of Cosby Johnson, in his own words.
The News: Tell us a little bit about why you are running.
Johnson: As someone who was born and raised in Brunswick, I can tell you that the biggest issues I saw growing up still exist. Our city lacks major infrastructure in regards to flooding and hurricane preparation, along with the necessary framework to continue sustainable economic growth. As our campaign had conversations on doorsteps from Magnolia Park to Union Street, and College Park to Riverside, we listened to voters and residents throughout the city. The ideas and issues that built our campaign and this movement were not Cosby Johnson’s, they were yours, they were the city of Brunswick’s.
What will you do to keep Brunswick moving forward?
To keep Brunswick moving forward, we have been focused on three of the biggest issues since the first day of this campaign: education, economic development and transparent and accountable government. The city must bridge the gap and provide the resources necessary for our students. It also means ensuring there is a world class workforce development program ready for our students to participate in and to step into competitive paying jobs within our community. Attracting industries and competitive paying jobs to our city starts with investing in training for our children and residents. For the last 15 years, I have worked to build economic development partnerships with every level of government from municipal to federal. I know what it takes to advocate for real economic development, and as mayor I will step in and do that on Day 1. Lastly, our city must work to have an accessible and transparent government.
What can be done to reduce blight in the city?
To reduce blight in Brunswick, we have to ensure that our code enforcement has both the necessary funding and tools to combat blight. Under our administration, we will work to crack down on the slumlords who are renting to residents and having them live in unlivable conditions. In addition, we must ensure that the elderly and long-time Brunswick residents are able to stay within their homes. While there are slumlords who are taking advantage of our community, there are also residents who through physical or financial means struggle to keep their homes up to code. The city must work to ensure our elderly and disabled residents have the resources necessary to stay in their home.
What can be done to reduce crime in the city?
A focus and vision on growing safer communities for all of our citizens will continue to be one of our top priorities. Our administration will work with our police chief and city manager in finding new and innovative ways to pay our first responders competitively.
What should the city do with recreation programs once they take them back from the county?
The Brunswick Recreation Department has nurtured generations of our community’s leaders. It’s where I learned the life lessons of teamwork and fair play while also gaining lifelong friendships. Our administration, in a fiscally responsible manner, will restore the same opportunity I had to our children. Through new and improved art programs and cornerstone sports we will open new pathways for our city.
How important are the upcoming LOST negotiations?
Citizens of Brunswick, who are taxed twice, deserve their resources to be poured back into their community. From the start of the election cycle, it was our campaign that led the discussions around the LOST and SPLOST negotiations. To ensure we are maximizing the growth potential of our city, we must work diligently to ensure that Brunswick is getting its fair amount of allocated dollars. The economy and infrastructure of the city of Brunswick is not only important for our taxpayers and for those that work within the city, but for the state and regional economy as a whole. Making sure Brunswick can get to work on our many infrastructure goals demands greater investments.
What will you do to convince voters to support a SPLOST referendum next year?
This is not a process of convincing the citizens of Brunswick. It is a process of educating, engaging, and empowering our residents on the importance of passing the next SPLOST vote. In that understanding, the Cosby Johnson administration will work with the Brunswick community at large, community leaders, as well as our neighborhood planning associations, to produce a list of projects of significance that addresses their needs. And that list will guide our SPLOST endeavors.