The race is between two men for Savannah's next mayor. Today and tomorrow, WTOC will show you just what candidates Pete Liakakis and Otis Johnson have done for the city up to now. Today, we spoke with those who know Liakakis best, who say he has an interesting past. He's a black belt in karate and kung fu and at one point was Burt Reynolds' bodyguard.
The 71-year-old Savannahian has served eight years as an alderman, owns his own security business, and still has time to be involved in 40 different organizations. "When I first learned he belonged to 40 organizations, I laughed, I said no way, but he does and he goes, he's involved every walk of life," said Courtney Flexon, District 4 adlerman. "It's amazing."
One of those organizations is one he started on his own, called Savannah Responds. Just last winter, it donated dozens of heaters to Savannah's elderly.
Elsie Hines says there's a softer side to the mayoral candidate that people never see. Years ago, before politics played a part, Liakakis helped her family after her husband was injured on the job. He found Hines a new job and became a friend to her family in the process. "I was able to carry my household while my husband was recuperating," she said.
As a city leader, Liakakis has fought hard to decrease crime, boost Savannah's economy and alleviate the city's flooding problems. Still, those who support him say there's another reason why you should vote for him next week. "He truly cares about people from all sides of town, he's not centered to one area over another," said Hines.
Tomorrow, we'll give you an in-depth look at Otis Johnson through the eyes of those who know him best.