I’m a proud Democrat running for State Senator representing Baltimore County’s 10th Legislative District. I am a father, public servant, community activist, and a lifelong Marylander.
My roots in the 10th District run deep. While in high school, I got my first job at Owings Mills Mall selling appliances to local homeowners. Today, I live in Windsor Mill with my wife Leslie D. Johnson, and our three beautiful children Robert, Kennedy, and Amaya. We attend Set the Captives Free Outreach Center in Windsor Mill.
My worldview was shaped early on by my family, who taught me the importance of faith, service, and education. I come from a family of churchgoers and educators. My parents, Bishop Robert E. Johnson Sr. and Pastor Jacqueline F. Johnson were both schoolteachers, and my grandfather, the late Chief Apostle Monroe R. Saunders, Sr. served on the Baltimore City Board of School Commissioners. They taught me that civic engagement makes all the difference between policies that succeed or fail to serve the public interest.
An Education in the Public Interest
This knowledge influenced my choices after high school. I earned a political science degree from UMBC, and a law degree from UDC David A. Clarke School of Law, one of the nation’s premier public interest law schools. Becoming a father was a big factor in my choice to pursue the law. I saw it as a way to acquire the necessary tools to be able effectuate change and serve the public, so that my children would grow up in a better world.
Along this journey, there have been times when I have wondered whether the challenges of public service are too great. However, I always remember my grandfather’s admonition that “we can’t be so heavenly minded that we become no earthly good.” I believe that we must take action to shape society for the better, because the way society treats people in the dawn of life, the twilight of life, and the shadows of life reflects our individual and collective values.
Legislative and Political Experience
Some of my early exposure to politics came from serving as Political Director for the Baltimore County Young Democrats, a position that required me to serve as a liaison between local elected officials and the Young Dems. In this role, I sought to activate other young people to become more engaged so that they might have a voice in the decisions impacting their future.
I gained my first legislative experience in law school, where I drafted legislation before the Washington D.C. City Council to limit the use of Trans Fats in restaurants. I also worked with the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights to advance policies that would lead to fairer outcomes for all, such as the Lily Ledbetter Equal Pay Act.
In 2007, I volunteered for the Obama campaign, and was ultimately hired to run a field office in Ypsilanti, MI, where I managed over 100+ committed volunteers. That year I was also elected as an Obama delegate to the Democratic National Convention from Maryland’s 2nd Congressional District. After the election, President Obama inspired me to go back to my community and get more seriously involved in political work. I volunteered as Field Coordinator for the 10th Legislative District Slate during the 2010 Gubernatorial primary election cycle, transitioning into the same role during the general election cycle for State Sen. Delores Kelley’s campaign. In 2011, I was appointed to the Maryland Democratic State Central Committee representing the 10th Legislative District. I also became an active member of the Baltimore County West (formerly the 10th District) Democratic Club.
A Commitment to Public Service
My professional life has always been about serving the public. This commitment matured in law school, during the countless hours I spent in public interest law clinics providing representation in D.C. courts and before administrative agencies. There, I saw that some of my clients were surviving on nothing but the hope that one day things would be better. This strengthened my resolve to work as hard as I could to be an agent of change and promote positive outcomes for those most in need. Through these experiences I learned that people want dignity, peace, good health, respect, and for their children to have more opportunity than they had.
Today, I serve as Director of Purchasing and Supply Services and Associate Counsel for Prince George’s County Public Schools. In this role, I oversee all procurement for the nation’s 24th largest public school system, and directly manage an office with an $8 million budget and a staff of 15 direct reports.
I also serve on the Baltimore County Human Relations Commission, the Baltimore County Spending Affordability Committee, and the Maryland Juvenile Justice Grant Planning Council. I work with youth as a basketball coach at the Liberty Road Recreation Center, and serve on the Board of Directors of Night of Peace Family Shelter, Mays-Woodson Early Learning Center, and Innovative Learning LLC.
At each stage of my life, my political philosophy has continued to mature, and I have gained new tools and insights that will enable me to serve as your Senator. I believe that my generation’s fight is a fight to ensure that the human dignity of each person is recognized and preserved. My education, political experience, and public service career have shaped who I am today. I’m stepping up to be the next Maryland State Senator for the 10th District because I’m ready to deliver results.