Newcomer to represent city in 2nd Ward

STEUBENVILLE – Political newcomer Michael R. Johnson won the Democrat primary race for the 2nd Ward City Council seat Tuesday night.

Johnson won the race against Lori Mason, picking up 124 votes compared to 80 votes for Mason.

Johnson will replace incumbent 2nd Ward Councilman Rick Perkins, who announced earlier this year he would not seek re-election.

No Republican candidates filed for the ward seat, and no independent candidate filed before the deadline, meaning Johnson will be unopposed in November’s general election.

“I am happy and I want to thank my family and friends who helped me in this campaign, including my brother and sister for going house to house during the campaign,” said Johnson Tuesday night.

“I know I am facing a big challenge but I am ready for it and the work ahead. I will continue attending council meetings to learn as much as I can about the issues facing the city,” stated Johnson.

“I also plan on talking to the incumbent council members to learn about the issues we are facing and to give them my ideas,” added Johnson.

He started thinking about running for office following a 2011 shooting incident on Pleasant Heights that left bullet holes in his neighbors’ houses.

“I was among the neighborhood residents who attended a City Council meeting to express our concerns. That’s when several people told me I should think about running for a council seat,” related Johnson.

“I am not happy with the direction of the city. And, I believe it is time for new faces on City Council with new ideas. We need to get our city moving in a new direction. First of all our city is in a financial crisis situation. We need to develop a long-range strategy to deal with the loss of state funding and at the same time start attracting new business to our city. Some of our goals will take a cooperative effort. But we need to encourage our citizens to come together and help pull us out of the fiscal mess. I believe my financial background will be helpful in coming up with viable solutions,” remarked Johnson in a pre-election interview.

“We also need to focus on our revenue stream including selling water to the oil and gas drillers. We are also starting to see more people in the area working for the oil and gas industry. But I do not believe we are adequately receiving the income tax from those people. Everyone should pay their fair share of the city income tax. We also have to find a better way to collect delinquent water bills,” stated Johnson.

“It was a fun campaign and I enjoyed the process. Now I am looking forward to representing the residents of the 2nd Ward,” noted Johnson.