For incumbent Republican Commissioner Paul Johnson, it’s experience that makes all the difference.
Johnson is seeking his fifth term on the Surry County Board of Commissioners after serving for nearly 16 years on the board.
He has served eight years as chairman, and several years as vice chairman.
Johnson is a self-employed farmer who also does some heating and air conditioning work.
In addition to his service to the board, he serves as the chairman of Pilot Mountain Pride.
What are you most proud of during your tenure?
Johnson cites his accomplishments in the areas of economic development and education as his most proud moments. He also touts the work done to improve infrastructure in the county, including water and sewer improvements.
“While we’ve been able to invest in our community and in the education of our young people, I’m also proud to say that we’ve been able to do this while keeping the county’s tax rate very low throughout the years.”
How has being challenged in a primary changed the way you run for office?
“It’s making me have to spend money that I hadn’t planned on spending, making me organize my campaign much earlier than normal and work a little harder to make sure I’ve been available to the people.”
What got you involved in county government in the first place?
“Back in my younger days, I sort of watched how Surry County politics were being done, and just felt like the county was playing too much politically with people’s lives in the county. I knew then that I wanted to be the one to help change that as I got older.”
What do you bring to the board?
“I think I’ve brought in the idea that you can be honest, fair and listen to the people to make a good decision. I want to actually represent the people rather than the special interests.”
What are the differences between you and your opponent?
“The difference between us is that I’m educated on the issues and am informed. My experience is just overwhelming.
“I would think that I have a lot more time to put into being a commissioner than he does. He’s a preacher and that certainly doesn’t hurt him in any way, but being a preacher and a father, I’d think that would be his first two priorities.
“I’m not saying I don’t have commitments, but my commitments won’t be as great as his.”
If elected to another term, what can you promise the voters?
“When a constituent calls with a problem or needs my help, I’ll be there. When someone tells you that it can’t be done, I’ll look for other avenues.
“I don’t like taking no for an answer.”
Reach Keith Strange at email@example.com or 719-1929.