Pensacola businessman Larry B. Johnson announced Tuesday that he would not seek reelection to the city council later this year.
“It has been an honor and a privilege to serve my neighbors on the city council,” Johnson said. “But as Kenny Rogers once sang, you’ve got to know when to hold ‘em, and know when to fold ‘em. After a decade on the city council, it’s time for me to pass the torch to a new generation.”
First elected in 2008, Johnson represents District 4, including Cordova Park, East Pensacola Heights, and a portion of East Hill. Johnson is the second-longest-serving member on the current council, after P.C. Wu.
“We have accomplished so much as a city over the past decade,” Johnson said. “I’m especially proud to have helped pass a new city charter, to have led the effort to reduce the size of the city council, and to have pushed for a domestic partner registry at a time when same-sex couples hadn’t yet won the right to marry. We’ve invested in downtown Pensacola and watched as it has transformed into the vibrant hub of our community and our region. We built an award-winning ballpark and implemented curbside recycling, strengthened our tree ordinance, improved water quality in Bayou Texar, and expanded our fantastic Roger Scott Tennis Center.”
Johnson said the credit for the city’s progress lies with the business community and neighborhood leaders as well as his fellow council members and Mayor Ashton Hayward. Despite that progress though, Johnson said in recent years one or two council members have lost sight of their mission and have placed self-interest and political vendettas ahead of the greater good.
“I am disappointed at the dysfunction and disorder at which has so often paralyzed this council over the past few years,” Johnson said. “I hope that current and future city council members will set aside political squabbles and instead place the needs of our citizens at the center of everything they do.”
While Johnson doesn’t plan to make an endorsement in the race to succeed him, he said he was excited to see businessman Jared Moore file to run for the District seat last week.
“Jared Moore is an incredibly smart and talented young leader in our community,” Johnson said. “He has served our city well on the Planning Board and I have no doubt he would make an excellent city council member.”
Johnson said that while his time on the city council may be coming to an end, he plans to remain actively involved in local affairs.
“I’ve had a number of people ask me to run for mayor, county commission, state house, or other offices,” Johnson said. “Whether in public office or in the private sector, I will continue to do what I can to serve this community, so I’m weighing all my options.”