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Johnson seeking to rejoin Hamilton City Council

Hamilton City Council candidate and ex-Council Member Archie Johnson. MIKE RUTLEDGE/STAFF
Hamilton City Council candidate and ex-Council Member Archie Johnson. MIKE RUTLEDGE/STAFF

Archie Johnson, a former member of Hamilton City Council, is running to rejoin the council after being off it for four years.

He served on council eight years before losing in the 2015 election and said he feels many residents, especially the poor and those living on the East Side, don’t feel represented by today’s council.

“The four years that I’ve been out, I’ve done some community work, and meeting with different community leaders and people primarily from the East Side of town, their biggest concern is that, No. 1, they didn’t have a voice at the table,” he said. “Everybody’s from the West Side, and the idea in their mind is that the city doesn’t necessarily care about them, and when you hear people say ‘city,’ they mean their government.”

“That’s why I’m running, really,” he said. “I’m concerned that people are concerned that we’re not concerned about them, and that bothers me that anybody would feel that way,” Johnson said.

Explore ANOTHER COUNCIL CANDIDATE: Businessman Eric Pohlman running for Hamilton Council

Johnson, 56, lives in the Second Ward and is an intake coordinator for Talbert House, which helps children, adults and families live healthy, productive lives, and operates eight halfway houses to help people conquer addictions.

The city native is a 1981 Hamilton High School graduate. He is among six challengers and two incumbents running for three of the seven seats on council. The other four seats, including that of the mayor, will be up for election in two years.

Explore ALSO RUNNING: Council candidate Casey Hume: ‘I’m not a politician’

Also running are council members Carla Fiehrer and Matt Von Stein, as well as challengers Danny Ivers, Casey Hume, Eric Pohlman, Jason Snyder and Susan Vaughn. Incumbent Kathleen Klink is not running again.

Explore ANOTHER CANDIDATE: Recent Citizen of the Year Jason Snyder running for City Council

Johnson offered some concerns he has:

• Too many city employees live outside city limits. While the city cannot require them to live in Hamilton, he believes perhaps some incentives, such as added pay, or bonuses on civil-service tests, should be offered for city residents.

• Related to that, he said, “Council needs to have more of a lending ear to the people they serve than the people they pay.”

• The city needs do more to create diversity in its city staff, including police and fire forces, he said.

• More must be done to combat drug addiction, crime and homelessness, he said, and solutions should be sought for that rather than accepting it as the way it is.

• Too many people, especially Hispanics and black males, are dropping out of schools, he said.

The city should “be transparent with the citizens, and not only that, but lend a voice to people,” he said. In fact, that would be his biggest priority, and something he believes he did while in office earlier.

Explore ALSO IN THE RACE: Susan Vaughn, former Miami University official, running for council

“The No. 1 reason people should vote for me is I think they can trust me,” he said. When he was on council, “there were a lot of nights where I felt like things weren’t right, or they didn’t have the interests of the citizens, and I voted 6-1, because I’m here for the people…. My slogan then, and my slogan now, is the people’s choice.”

Johnson is married to Tommie Johnson. He is father to six, all grown, and has five grandchildren.

Explore ANOTHER CANDIDATE: Ivers, now 20, seeks to become youngest to serve on Hamilton City Council

City Council Candidate Forum

Hamilton City Council candidates will face off against each other Thursday at the Miami University Downtown Hamilton location, 221 High St., in an event hosted by the Greater Hamilton Chamber of Commerce. The 6 p.m. event will introduce voters to the eight candidates, including two incumbents, who are running for three council seats.

The council has seven seats, including the mayor’s position, but only three of them are up for election this year.

Candidates will know all the questions except one surprise one. If there is time left at the end, citizens will be able to ask questions of their own. TvHamilton will televise the forum live, and will show it again afterward.