Columbus mayoral candidate John Anker

COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) – The race for mayor of Columbus continues, months before you go to the polls. So far, there are two candidates vying for the position, Columbus Mayor Skip Henderson versus John Anker in the upcoming election.

On Tuesday, we brought you Henderson’s plans for another term. In a News Leader 9 exclusive, we profile John Anker, a Columbus entrepreneur with a vision to lead the city from the fountain.

Public safety, economy and transparency, the three pillars that John Anker promises to the people of Columbus if he is elected mayor. He explains that first and foremost, the community deserves the truth and he expects to deliver on those promises by listening first.

“We need a different kind of leadership that will lead, communicate and act,” Anker said.

Originally from Albany, Georgia, Anker has lived in Columbus for 28 years. He and his wife opened Ankerpak 18 years ago. Ankerpak is an outsourcing partner for businesses such as packaging, manufacturing and distribution.

Not a rookie in the private sector, Anker said he’s ready to put on a new hat and work for the people of Columbus. Without a political background, he plans to lead the fountain city on transparency.

“We are reacting. We take the issues and put them where it’s easiest,” Anker said. “We are not moving forward. We are not getting enough engagement from our citizens, for whatever reason. We don’t get that commitment.

Anker explained right away that the lack of transparency is the root of most of the city’s problems. He said it also affects our public safety.

“We’re going to talk about community policing and what it is, but we need to be transparent about why we’re losing the officers,” he said. “We have to focus on retention and on problems. We need to bring them to the community faster and stronger and get commitment. We have to stand by our officers.

Moving on to the economy, Anker said he wants to see more committees research to develop a targeted approach to economic development, partnering with the Chamber of Commerce along the way.

“We will bring the teams together to ask the tough questions,” he promised. “’What return on investment are we getting in these areas, and how are we going to hold people accountable for real metrics that measure results and deliver results that citizens want to see?’ That’s what I’m going to do as your leader, as your future mayor.

The City of Columbus has a budget of $296.6 million for this fiscal year.

Anker was asked how he plans to balance his business and the city. His response, “Balancing? What balance is it? Anker replied, “I’m going to be mayor 100%. What is the balance? I haven’t worked at my company since November 22, when I declared my intention to run for mayor.

Anker said as a small business owner, he is running for mayor because he wants to unite visions and inspire the future of Columbus.

“When I am elected on May 24 to be your mayor, I will not start on January 1, I will start next month in June, going around the city, interviewing and asking questions.”

Election day is May 24.

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