HOLLY HILL -- William R Johnson of Holly Hill has announced his candidacy for the District 39 state Senate seat in the June 2020 Democratic primary.
The seat is currently held by Sen. John W. Matthews. However, the incumbent announced earlier this year he would not seek re-election after his current term expires.
“I would like to become a state senator to help improve the quality of life for the residents of District 39 and the State of South Carolina,” Johnson said.
Johnson, who is serving in his third term as mayor of Holly Hill, believes that his experience will translate well to the challenges of the senate position.
“After serving as mayor for the Town of Holly Hill for more than 10 years, I have experienced firsthand the needs of rural South Carolina,” he said.
Johnson said the challenges facing citizens of the rural towns and communities that make up District 39 include:
• Restricted access to quality health care
• Shortage of law enforcement
• Lack of work force training
• Lack of internet access
• K – 12 low education attainment
• Limited Local Government Funds
• Lack of grocery stores
• Dilapidated buildings
• Limited wastewater capacity
• Flooding in our towns and communities
• Inadequate youth programs & activities
• Poor streets and roads
• Poverty/Low income
• Few businesses in downtown areas
• Environmental injustice
• Lack of affordable housing
“As mayor of a small, rural town with limited resources, I have worn several hats: strong mayor, town administrator, human resources, and 24/7 emergency calls,” Johnson said.
“These responsibilities have given me the opportunity to experience firsthand what is required to run a small town in rural South Carolina.”
During Johnson’s tenure as mayor, the town has maintained a high quality potable water system and a well-operated waste treatment facility for citizens. The purchase of a backup pump and generator kept facilities operating smoothly during an extended power outage.
Additionally, Johnson oversaw town hall’s move into the new town/county complex and the transition to an upgraded software system to better serve citizens.
“I’ve also been deeply involved in securing RIA, Street Scape, PRTD, USDA and other grants for the town that help improve our quality of life for our citizens,” Johnson said.
“In addition to all the practical knowledge gained while serving as mayor, I also have more than three decades experience working for Holcim Cement manufacturing plant,” Johnson said. “During my career, I was production supervisor, quality control chemist, procurement manager, and production coordinator – all skills that help me be a responsive public servant.”
Johnson received his B.S. Degree in Agriculture Education at Alcorn State University (Lorman, MS). He is also a graduate of South Carolina’s Municipal Elected Officials Advanced Institute of Government, a graduate of South Carolina Economic Development Institute, and various other management classes and seminars.
Johnson currently serves on the boards of Orangeburg County Development Commission, The One Orangeburg County Initiative, US African American Mayors Association, Cities United, Lake Marion High School Career and Technology Advisory Board, Holly Hill My Brother’s Keepers Initiative, South Carolina Conference of Black Mayors, and Tri-County Regional Chamber of Commerce. He is past board member of Orangeburg County Chamber of Commerce, MUSC Hospital Board of Visitors, and the South Carolina Municipal Association. Additionally, he is a member of Lake Marion Water Agency, Holly Hill Elementary School Improvement Council, South Carolina Association of Mayors, and is a lifetime member of NAACP.
He is married to Linda (Holmes) Johnson. They are the parents of two adult children, Byron and Coretta; and are grandparents to two grandchildren. He attends Lovely Hill Baptist Church, Holly Hill, where he serves as deacon.
“Beyond my experience, I believe I have the right disposition and necessary dedication for the important position of South Carolina Senator. I would be honored to receive your vote on June 9, and to serve as your voice in the South Carolina Legislature,” Johnson said.
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