By Dawn Krebs
ST. LUCIE COUNTY - Residents will see some new faces in the Nov. 6 election when it comes to the St. Lucie County Commission District 5 seat.
Kim Johnson is running against Bobby Hopkins for the seat, currently held by St. Lucie County Commissioner Christopher Craft. Mr. Craft was recently elected tax collector and will step into that role after November.
Hometown News asked the candidates the same questions about their campaigns. Their answers are below in alphabetical order.
Hometown News does not endorse any candidates for political office, but instead provides information about each candidate for voters to make an educated decision.
Name: Bobby Hopkins
Occupation: Owner of DeBartolo Stucco and Drywall
Family: Wife Kristine
Name: Kim Johnson
Occupation: Motivational speaker
Family: Wife Sheritta, and three children: Ronald, Brittany and Bria
Q: How long have you lived in St. Lucie County?
Hopkins: I have lived in the district 41 years, and helped raise eight children here. I've also been in business 31 years and have voted here since 1984.
Johnson: I have lived in St. Lucie County for about 30 years.
Q: Why should voters choose you?
Hopkins: Living here has given me the advantage in getting to know the people and understanding a lot of the needs here in our community. As a business, I've created hundreds of jobs. We brought that money into St. Lucie County, where it was dispersed. We also created affordable housing through our park. This gives me business experience and the ability to work with employees and staff. Being a pastor has also allowed me to hear the concerns in the lives of adults and youth around our community.
Johnson: Voters should choose me because I'm a real person who is accustomed to solving real problems, and I can help our county bring about real change.
Q: What are the top two issues you wish to see addressed?
Hopkins: As a businessman, you learn to utilize your assets. In our county we have a lot of assets, such as the airport, port, railroad and major highways. We are a hub for business. We also have beautiful beaches and intercoastal waterways, Harbor Branch, Indian River State College, Florida State University and many more that will help entice businesses to look toward us to use as a fit for them.
Also, we need to evaluate our everyday spending and find ways to get the attention of those businesses that are being pushed out of the big ports in Miami and Jacksonville, and let them know we have a port that's open for business, with a work force waiting for them. Use our ballparks, the Fenn Center and the fairgrounds competitive, to bring events to our area that puts heads in beds and also create customers for our local businesses.
Johnson: A lack of jobs and the limited use of our local resources such as the port, airport and railroad. These things have denied people in our county the opportunity of raising their kids properly, seeing their kids come back home to work and stay after graduating from college and stopped us from producing jobs that will last for generations to come.
Q: If you could, what would be the one thing you would change in the county and why?
Hopkins: Let's create incentives to help our local business owners make it, because they are the heartbeat of our community.
Johnson: I would change certain codes to make it easier for new businesses to come in our county and help current businesses expand and grow in both north and south county. That would make it easier for us to create jobs quickly and more rapidly throughout our county.