Justice of the Peace Bob Johnson of Jacksonville, who ran as a Republican, has announced he’s changing parties and will run as a Democrat for state representative for the seat currently held by Democrat Mark Perry, who’s term limited.
He was welcomed by Will Bond, chair of the state Democratic Party, in a news release:
Will Bond, who represented Jacksonville in the state house for six years, congratulated Bob Johnson on his announcement to run for state house as an Arkansas Democrat. Will Bond’s statement is below:
“I’ve known Bob Johnson for many years. I consider him a good friend and know him to be dedicated to focusing on issues that are important to us all: creating jobs, continuing to strengthen education, and continuing fiscal responsibility in balancing our state budget.”
I haven’t been able to reach Johnson, a Quorum Court member since 2005, for comment. But Michael Cook at Talk Business has a quote:
“I grew up as a moderate Republican, my father was very close to Governor Rockefeller, it has been very personal to me. In the last several years, the Party has just moved too far to the right and is dominated by people that say ‘no’ to everything. Because of that, I am now better described as a conservative Democrat.”
Johnson often joined the Quorum Court Democratic majority, including on a compromise Lake Maumelle watershed plan pushed by County Judge Buddy Villines. Johnson issued a news release:
(Jacksonville, Arkansas) – Pulaski County Justice of the Peace Bob Johnson of Jacksonville announced today that he is running for Arkansas State Representative in House District 42. The seat is currently held by Democrat Mark Perry of Jacksonville who is term-limited.
Johnson also announced in front of a group of family and friends at his accounting office that he is switching his life-long membership from the Republican Party to the Democratic Party.
“First and foremost, I am running to serve the people of Jacksonville and further the agenda of education and sound fiscal government,” said Bob Johnson, “I am a huge advocate of the Jacksonville area having its own school district.”
Johnson has served on the Pulaski County Quorum Court since 2005. His background as a Certified Public Accountant allowed him to help balance the finances of County Government during a troubled time.
“When I came unto the Quorum Court the finances of the county were out of control,” said Johnson, “Now, we are in great fiscal shape.”
Johnson also addressed his party switch.
“I grew up as a moderate Republican, my father was very close to Governor Rockefeller, it has been very personal to me,” said Johnson, “In the last several years, the Party has just moved too far to the right and is dominated by people that say ‘no’ to everything. Because of that, I am now better described as a conservative Democrat.”
Johnson plans to focus on education and balanced budgets when elected. He has long been a proponent of the Jacksonville area having its own school district.
“We are closer than ever to having our own school district,” said Johnson.
District 42 covers most of the city of Jacksonville. Johnson started his accounting practice in Jacksonville in 1990. He is married to Laurie Anne Johnson and they have five children. He is a member of the Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce, the Jacksonville Rotary Club, Jacksonville Sertoma Club and attends That Church in Sherwood.