Current Columbia mayor says Johnson, his former chief of staff, can do the job

·3 min read

I know what it takes to lead Columbia: Sam Johnson.

Serving the people of Columbia as your mayor has been one of the greatest honors of my life. From the 2015 flood to COVID-19, we’ve faced some of the biggest challenges imaginable and we’ve faced them together as One Columbia.

Now, as we choose a new mayor, I’m asking you to join me one last time in helping elect the candidate with the courage, commitment, energy and vision we need to move Columbia forward.

I know what it takes to lead this great city. That’s why I’m asking you to join me and vote Sam Johnson for Mayor of Columbia.

Let’s be clear. Sam has been leading on the real issues facing our families for years.

Over a decade ago, when City Council was furloughing first responders, cutting firefighter vacation days in half and closing firehouses, Sam joined me in restoring public safety funding without raising taxes.

When our water and sewer system was crumbling because of years of neglect and spilling so much sewage into our rivers every year that the city was under an EPA investigation, Sam helped me invest hundreds of millions of dollars to rebuild and improve it for the future.

When some on City Council opposed the largest investment north of Elmwood in a generation at Bull Street, Sam led the way helping create more than 2,000 construction jobs, secure $20 million for local contractors, and more than $9 million for minority contractors in what now boasts $188 million in private investment.

When we wanted to ban bump stocks, equip our officers with body cameras and invest in projects like the Greenview pool, Sam stepped up and he’s been stepping up ever since, helping bring free Wi-Fi to the Colony Apartments, spearheading multiple new affordable housing projects, bringing new mentoring resources to the SC Afterschool Alliance and more.

So it didn’t surprise me when Sam was the first candidate with a real plan to end gun violence. It doesn’t surprise me that he’s the only one with new ideas to protect our families from COVID-19 and address the dramatic healthcare disparities we’ve faced for too long.

It doesn’t surprise me that he’s the one candidate willing to support our police and fire departments with full staffing through a real plan because that’s who Sam is. He tells the truth, he finds solutions and then he takes action.

You see, this isn’t politics for Sam. It’s personal.

He supports small business because he remembers cleaning offices and emptying trash cans to help his father start a janitorial service.

He believes in affordable housing because he remembers how it felt when the family business failed and the bank took their home.

He cares about protecting our families from the pandemic because COVID-19 took his grandmother, his grandfather and his aunt, and he can’t let that happen to anyone else. He cares about public safety because he hears the gunshots in his neighborhood, too.

That’s the Sam Johnson I know.

Sam has a real plan to grow small businesses and create new, high-paying jobs. He’ll improve public safety because he stands with our police and firefighters and they stand with him. He’s bringing new ideas and new vision to build a brighter future for all.

On Nov, 2, we have a decision to make. Let’s make it together. We want a mayor who can fix our roads, improve healthcare and end gun violence now.

We want Sam Johnson!

Mayor Stephen K. Benjamin is has served as mayor of Columbia since 2010.

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