Third Ward Council seat up for grabs

By Nikki Blankenship -

With the election quickly approaching Councilman Kevin E. Johnson is hopeful that he will be re-elected. Johnson is completing his first term on City Council and says he is ready for a second round.

Johnson is a Portsmouth native with much hometown pride. Johnson was born in Portsmouth and graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1983. After high school, Johnson completed college locally, attending a local career college first and then enrolling at Shawnee State University.

Johnson also spent 35 years as a local radio personality, handling both advertising and working on-air. He is currently working in the fire protection business.

When not working in his professional or political careers, Johnson says that he and his family work hard to do their share for the people of Portsmouth. Johnson is married with seven children and three grandchildren.

“Our family is very active in the community, whether it is sports, church or civic,” Johnson stated. “We’re very active and have strong ties to the community.”

As Johnson finishes his first term on Council, he looked back and says that he can best describe it as a learning experience.

“I never ever perceived or saw myself in politics years ago. From the very onset, it was a go. The first thing we did was we interviewed for a City Manager, and we hired a City Manager. I was very new on Council when we did that,” Johnson explained.

Johnson added that quickly after hiring City Manager Derek Allen, the City went to work on the budget. The City has been on fiscal watch from the State. All City budgets are now in the black, except the sewer budget, Johnson stated.

“If I could sum it up best, it’s been go go go the whole time,” Johnson said about his time on Council.

Still, he says the he enjoys what he is doing. Johnson commented that he likes working with the community and making decisions that bring about good results.

“I’m very proud of the direction that our City has taken in the last four years. We have started a new direction. We are on the path to recovery,” said Johnson. “I do not believe that our best days are behind us. I believe they are still ahead of us.”

In the next four years, Johnson wants to focus on getting the City off fiscal watch, he stated.

“Our City Manager has done a real good job of working with the unions. Our City employees are getting raises for the first time in 15 years,” Johnson explained.

He stated that these raises have improved moral.

In addition to continuing to work with City employees, Johnson says he would like to see streets fixed and done so wisely, taking care of drainage, gas line and water line issues so that funds are not wasted paving a street that will quickly need torn back up.

As his last goal for Council, Johnson stated that he would like to see the City and County governments working together.

“I really believe that somewhere along the line it became an ‘us against them,’ and we’re all in this together. I really believe that our County and our City needs to sit down, and we need to reach across the table and start working together,” the candidate concluded.

Johnson will be running against opponent Jerry Skiver. As of press time, Skiver had not responded to requests for an interview.

By Nikki Blankenship

Reach Nikki Blankenship at 740-353-3101 ext. 1931.

Reach Nikki Blankenship at 740-353-3101 ext. 1931.