2023 Candidate Questionnaire: Johnny Boker For Havre De Grace City Council


Credit: Johnny Boker

HAVRE DE GRACE - The Havre de Grace Patch spoke to Johnny Boker about his history, why he is running for office, and his positions on local issues.

Below are Boker's answers to our candidate questionnaire.

What is the primary reason you are running for this office?

"In 2019, I was voted in as president of the Havre de Grace Alliance and the vice president of the Havre de Grace Chamber of Commerce in 2021. This really opened my eyes to the deeper issues that exist on the east and west sides of Route 40."

"As an elected official, I'm also excited to be a conduit of information for the public regarding major land use projects. I want to close the communication gaps between when shovels go into the ground and when our citizens realize that these projects are taking place. Specifically, the revitalization of the Harford Memorial Hospital building, especially Lodge Lane Alley."

"I also want to realize opportunities for efficiency, such as shared services for Bulle Rock, including snow removal and refuse service."

What will be your single most important priority if you get elected?

"Protecting the assets of the citizens of Havre de Grace; That is the exact charter of the council. I want to ensure safety and maintain a better quality of life in Havre de Grace."

"One way of getting that done is to advocate for better communication between the city and its citizens. We used to have a mailer called the Citizen's Connection, and I want to bring that back. I also plan to establish better communication with infrastructure providers such as electricity, gas, and internet companies to mitigate disruption. In a 21st Century City, we depend on connectivity; well-informed citizens and business owners thrive when they know they are included in planning unscheduled and scheduled maintenance work."

"Another priority is ensuring that we get the contractor engineering study completed for the downtown renovation and that we minimize its impact on downtown businesses. I want to work with the mayor and DPW to exercise the Smart Growth Plan for parking and pedestrians. I want to post signs about where parking can be found during the renovation. I want to run ads in the Patch on the city website to include citizens in government communications. I define success for this project as the merchants not losing a single penny."

What sets you apart from the other candidates?

"I am looking at a four-year plan. Being a City Council member is a two-year term, and I plan to run again if elected this year. As a logistician with 22 years of Army experience behind me, I will use the city's comprehensive plan to measure and analyze growth and issues to set conditions for the future."

"I honor and respect the vast history of Havre de Grace and will move it forward to build upon that grand history."

Where do you work, and what is your job title?

"I currently work as a Product Support Manager for the US Army and the US Marine Corps, field artillery and long-range precision fires on Aberdeen Proving Ground. I stand shoulder to shoulder with these services to provide product support for a variety of lethal products and software applications."

"My work history includes the US Army after graduating high school. After I finished my Army career, I moved into community telecommunications, working at Bell South and other communication companies."

What is your age and birthplace? Other family information you'd like to share?

"I'm 57 years old and was born in Granite City, Illinois, but I was raised in the small town of Christopher, Illinois. It was there that I learned how to establish long-term relationships and exercise empathy and mutual respect."

"After spending 22 years in the Army and five combat rotations as a First Sergeant, I retired from service in 2005."

"I met my wife Wanda on a plane headed home from a business trip in 2010. I was headed to New Jersey, and she was on a connecting flight to her home in Paris, France. We fell in love, and I captured her heart again by saying that I wanted to live in the French-named town of Havre de Grace."

Please list the schools and colleges you attended, the degrees you attained, and when.

"I attended high school in Christopher, Illinois. I later earned multiple certifications in the Army, such as Master Fitness, Battle Staff Management, and Communications Master Tech. My undergrad is in business administration from the Maryland global camp Global Campus, and I later earned an MBA at the University of Maryland global Global Campus. I'm also certified level three in logistics and aquisition from Defense Acquisition University."

Approximately how much money do you expect to spend on your campaign?

"I have spent exactly $2,124.12."

"I'm also grateful to have received donations directly from supportive citizens to a local Havre de Grace signage shop for additional signage, postcards, and buttons."

How long have you lived in Havre de Grace?

“I have lived in Havre de Grace for 12 years now. When I came to town, I was blown away by the volunteerism. Volunteers essentially ran the city; everywhere you go, there are 501Cs, nonprofits, and volunteer clubs.”

What's your favorite thing about Havre de Grace?

"I love the fact that many citizens born in Havre de Grace stay in Havre de Grace; that's very telling."

"Another thing is the vast history of our brave firefighters, impeccable and award-winning first responders, and our incredible police force."

What is the biggest issue facing Havre de Grace?

"Infrastructure. As a current member of the city's Water and Sewer Commission, I'm very concerned with water and sewer infrastructure needs. As the city grows and new housing developments are built, you must increase pressure at the pumps to ensure they have water access. This creates stress on our aging pipes that they were not designed to handle."

"I have toured the facilities and have witnessed firsthand how this is an issue that must be addressed. There are plans of action in place to include reservoir tanks and a water tower near Bulle Rock that will alleviate some of these pressures as infrastructure is repaired using the Capital Improvement Fund."

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