Name, Age: Brent Johnson, 34
How long you’ve lived in the city: 4yrs, lived in Norcross & Duluth all my life
Education background: B.A. Degree from the University of Georgia in Risk Management and Insurance
Family: Married—Wife Michelle M. Johnson, Daughter Caitlin Johnson
Occupation: Commercial Lines/Brokerage Manager for Burns & Wilcox
Political Affiliation: Republican
Religious Affiliation: Christian (Methodist)
Membership & Affiliation: no answer given
Have you had any previous civic or public involvement? No
What is the driving force behind your interest to serve on the Peachtree Corners City Council?
The reason I am running for City Council is for my family. Three and half years ago my life changed when my wife told me she was pregnant and I knew that my life was going to have a new center very soon. The decisions my wife and I have made since then have all been about what is best for raising our daughter. We moved to our current home so that my family could grow up in a wonderful community.
Being from Norcross, and living in the vicinity pretty much all my life, I have seen many of the changes that Gwinnett County has been through in the past thirty years. Now with Peachtree Corners becoming a city, I want to make sure we preserve all the values and reasons people moved to this area in the first place and not compound some of the mistakes made by the county in more recent memory.
What challenges do you see ahead for the new City?
I believe one of the biggest challenges facing the new Peachtree Corners city government is growing too fast and inefficiently. The main reason many people voted for the new city was to have closer, more direct access to the local government and to keep the already high standard of living in Peachtree Corners. The goal of the new city should not be to encumber citizens with another layer of government by taxing them and adding new regulations, but addressing the immediate needs of the community. This is why I will approach this challenge by focusing on keeping the government small, efficient and focused on the limited items desired by many citizens, such as the local zoning.
What should the central mission of the city council be?
The central mission of the city council is pretty simple. It should be responsible for keeping the area a great place to live and work and should work to make the area attractive to small businesses. By focusing on these goals and not looking to add layers to rules, regulations and city employees, we can build a city that will work not only for the people who voted for the city, but those who did not. The council must bring the citizens of Peachtree Corners together so that the city can move forward and not remain divided.
Do you see any current zoning changes you would recommend and why?
The Gwinnett County zoning regulations have been structured and defined over many years. I would not rush to change anything at first until I am able to better understand how and why they were set up. We should have hearings that are open to all citizens and available for viewing via the internet. Questions can be posted so we can determine what the issues are for the citizens. We can then determine the best way to match those needs to new zoning regulations. Code enforcement should be in the simplest manner possible without excessive employees and should be accomplished with simple, easy to follow regulations.
How would your office approach business development in the district?
Support Small Businesses – Small businesses drive the growth and quality of life of the residents in any city. If there is a strong business community, workers will have meals close to their office, increasing job opportunities and tax revenues for the city. To help foster a good relationship with a growing business community, I would make sure the city keeps taxes low, limits the number of needless permits and visits by government workers, and provide a consistent zoning environment.
Ask and answer your own question that will help voters decide how
I am a local man who moved back to his home town community to raise a family. I have made a lifetime commitment to raise my daughter. The process to becoming a great city is a process that will take several years. The city structure is not already set up like Sandy Springs or Johns Creek. We have several options open to us that we can tweak to end up with just the city for our particular demographics and needs.
I did not just decide to make a commitment to the community when I decided to run for city council. I began making a commitment to the area 4 years ago when my wife and I moved to the Peachtree Corners area. We have since had a beautiful little girl, Caitlin. This has redoubled my commitment to the community. I want Caitlin to have the opportunity to grow up in a safe neighborhood with the best schools in the state. I want my wife to be safe while out and about in the community. These things cannot be said for every city in the county.
I want to be a part of the long term structure that will ensure that years from now when Caitlin graduates from High School the city is well on its way and she has reaped the benefits of my commitment. I am only 34 and my Daughter, Caitlin, just turned three. I have made a long term commitment to her and my family.