At 29, Andrew Johnson will be council's youngest member when he arrives to represent the city's southeastern corner.
The former Target systems engineer plans to use his technological know-how to make public data more accessible and to help steer the city through a rebidding of its most expensive contract — an outsourcing agreement with Unisys valued at upward of $143 million. "In the 21st century we need a technologist on the council."
Other cities like Chicago have put reams of government data online in raw formats, allowing the public to manipulate and analyze it. Johnson wants to see that applied here, including better information on city spending and how council members voted on certain issues. Posting landlord violations online, for example, would empower renters and encourage landlords to do a better job, he said. "It increases trust in government. It increases participation, especially among the tech savvy. It enables them to help share the story of government, both good and bad."
HELP FOR SMALL BUSINESSES:
Johnson also hopes to improve the process that small businesses endure when they interact with the city. That involves both presenting a "clear, concise picture of what they need to do to open up shop" and cleaning up outdated ordinances.
BACK TO BASICS:
Johnson commits to providing good constituent service — the bread and butter of local government.
BIGGEST SURPRISE: "I handed out my cellphone number to thousands and thousands of people, and I've been surprised how few calls I get [from constituents]."