I attended a “Young Professionals” event held for Gubernatorial candidate Eric Johnson last night at the Twisted Taco in Midtown Atlanta. Johnson’s campaign reserved the upstairs and hosted a capacity crowd for a little mixing and mingling of the well dressed and upwardly mobile with a little political discussion thrown in.
Johnson was introduced by his daughter, and then made very brief remarks. Most of his time was spent working the crowd one-on-one.
His them was simple and direct. He’s from Savannah, but understands the issues of Metro Atlanta. He noted that Savannah has the second largest population in Georgia, and faces many of the same growth related issues that Atlantans deal with on a regular basis regarding traffic and infrastructure. He noted his region’s experience in land/water disputes with South Carolina over the Savannah River & Hutcheson Island as experience in being able to deal with Alabama and Florida (and Tennessee?). He discussed Savannah’s reliance on a large and growing international port, and compared it to the air transportation hub of Hartsfield-Jackson. There were a couple of others, but he did a quick and concise job of relating his understanding to issues specific to Atlanta area residents.
I was able to speak to him a bit at the beginning of the event, but had an even longer conversation with him a couple months back at the last Peach Pundit gathering. While I’ve met Johnson many times over the years, most of my opinions of him were formed by others. One of the benefits of writing here at Peach Pundit is the ability to get to know many of the candidates first hand, and thus, re-form some opinions made with direct contact.
I would have to say that in the past, I probably did not give Senator Johnson much credit for intellectual curiousity, but have found that he asks some pretty interesting questions, and seeks to genuinely drill down to find some specific information. He seems to be interested in finding new solutions to the issues he cares about.
And to those issues, he has a legislative record to back them up. Johnson has been the leader on school choice issues in the legislature for some time, and his support of this and other “red meat” conservative issues is why I continue to believe that current Ox supporters will eventually find their way into Johnson’s camp. Ox talks a lot about what he is for; Johnson has a voting record that shows where he stands.