Elect 2012: Deputy runs for commissioner seat

Published 12:00 am Friday, February 17, 2012

By Karissa Minn
SALISBURY — Joel Johnson, a Republican, filed Tuesday for Rowan County Commissioner.
Johnson, 31, of 390 Oxford Road in Rockwell, has been a deputy with the Rowan County Sheriff’s Office since 2006. Prior to that, he worked as a patrol officer and canine handler with the Salisbury Police Department.
In a prepared statement Thursday, Johnson said he’s spoken with many county residents during his nearly nine years in law enforcement.
“I hear many concerns from them, and I have reached a point in my life where I feel it is time for me to take a stand and do what I feel is right for them,” he said.
So far, Johnson is one of five candidates running for two seats on the Board of Commissioners.
He said his top priorities are enhancing emergency services, ensuring adequate staffing levels, spurring economic growth and making sure county employees get competitive wages and benefits.
According to Johnson, the county’s emergency services department is understaffed, and he “all too often” hears people voice concerns about delayed response times when they call 911.
“Emergency workers are forced to be reactive rather than proactive, largely in part (due) to the vast amount of calls for service,” he said. “The safety of our citizens should clearly be a priority.”
Johnson also is calling for an in-depth study of the wages and benefits of Rowan County employees compared to similar counties.
“Our employees are the backbone of our local government, and they are not treated fairly,” he said.
To encourage economic growth, Johnson said the county needs to offer more incentives for businesses to locate here. He said Rowan is “lagging behind” other counties that are thriving, and it should focus on developing the Interstate 85 corridor.
Also filing this week was Vernon Robinson, a Republican who officially entered the race Thursday for N.C. House District 8.
Contact reporter Karissa Minn at 704-797-4222.
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Joel Johnson
Office sought: Rowan County Commissioner
Age: 31
Address: 390 Oxford Road, Rockwell
Phone number: 704-762-1718
Party: Republican
Occupation: Deputy sheriff, Rowan County
Education: Currently completing a degree in criminal justice at Rowan-Cabarrus Community College
Previous elected office: None
Family: Two sons, ages 3 and 6