He's a pastor, an artist, a husband and a father. Now Bill Johnson, a Village of the Arts resident, wants to add mayor of Bradenton to the list.
A resident of Bradenton for more than 25 years, the former Navy man and current partner in his own ministry decided to run after hearing that two other possible candidates had filed papers with the supervisor of elections office.
Between them, the other two - former mayor Bill Evers and incumbent Wayne Poston - have controlled the mayor's office for nearly three decades.
Evers served as mayor for 20 years and Poston is finishing his second four-year term.
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"Sometimes I think they should have term limits on all offices and get rid of the professional politician," Johnson said.
He has 12 signatures on his petition, something he needs to turn into the supervisor's office in September with 25 signatures once the qualifying period begins. He plans to open his campaign account this week.
Election day is Nov. 6.
Johnson recognizes that running against heavyweights like Poston and Evers could make him a spoiler in the race, but he hopes he won't be.
"I really want the job," Johnson, 57, said. "I think that I could bring some fresh ideas into the city government."
Born in San Diego, he moved often as a child in a military family and graduated from high school in Jackson, Ohio. Shortly after graduating he joined the Navy and served for four years, working in Alaska, California and Guam.
Once out of the service, his life took him through a season working with a carnival and later to Florida, where he has been since the 1970s. He worked odd jobs and held a 14-year stint with Wellcraft Marine as a production manager. Now on disability for a neuromuscular condition, he dedicates his time to his stained-glass art, beadwork and jewelry making while maintaining a ministry with his wife.
A certified pastor with Full Gospel Pentecostal Churches, he works with his wife, Denise Johnson, to provide blankets for homeless people and visit Manatee Memorial Hospital to pray for patients and give gifts to children, he said. His associate's degree in theology is from Beacon University, in Columbus, Ga.
Johnson's purple home in the Village of the Arts sits just south of 14th Avenue West. The front room holds jewelry, stained glass, beads and knitted items his wife makes. A wooden sign reading "Enter in Peace" hangs near the door leading into the main room. A banjo and guitar rest near the fireplace, instruments Johnson says he's teaching himself to play.
Johnson considers himself an average Bradenton resident who, as mayor, would like to work to improve the lives of other average residents.
"I think I can do the job," he said. "And I think I can do it well."