AUSTIN, TX – 33 year old attorney and community volunteer Eric “EJ” Johnson hand delivered papers this morning to the Texas Ethics Commission to begin raising funds to run for the Texas House of Representatives from District 100 in Dallas.
“I’ve gotten to know Eric Johnson through his work on Barack Obama’s presidential campaign and from working with him on issues related to our youth. Not only is he a strong leader with high moral standards, he is also dedicated to improving the lives of the people in our community. I truly believe that Eric Johnson is the right person at the right time for this job ,” said Dr. Juanita Wallace, president of the Dallas chapter of the NAACP. Dr. Wallace, along with several other supporters, accompanied Mr. Johnson to Austin and will serve as Mr. Johnson’s campaign treasurer.
Mr. Johnson promises to provide the residents of District 100 with strong representation in Austin. In particular, Mr. Johnson is committed to working tirelessly to ensure that every child in District 100 receives a quality education and has the opportunity to pursue a college degree. Currently, nearly 30% of District 100 residents between the ages of sixteen and nineteen are high school dropouts, and just 10% of District 100 residents over the age of 25 hold a bachelor’s degree or higher, compared to a state average of 23%. An active volunteer with the Dallas Independent School District (DISD), Mr. Johnson is prepared to go to Austin and help solve the problems that plague our urban public schools. “ Improving our public schools and producing more college graduates is crucial to jumpstarting economic development both in District 100, whose residents’ per capita income lags behind the state average by almost $7,000 per year, and throughout the State of Texas,” according to Mr. Johnson. “I will also fight for every resident of District 100 to have access to quality health care and will work to address the drug and crime issues that have dogged District 100 for years and threaten the safety and quality of life of its residents ,” Mr. Johnson stated.
Mr. Johnson, a Dallas native who was raised in West Dallas and in nearby Oak Cliff, attended the first grade at C.F. Carr Elementary in District 100. In the second grade, he was selected to participate in the Independent Schools Project, a partnership between the Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Dallas and several of the top private schools in Dallas. For the next eleven years, Mr. Johnson rode a van from the West Dallas Boys and Girls Club to attend Greenhill School, from which he graduated in 1994. Mr. Johnson went on to attend Harvard University, where he majored in History and graduated cum laude. He then earned both a law degree from the University of Pennsylvania and a master’s degree in Public Affairs from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University.
“My passion for education comes from my own experience with what a quality education can do to change a person’s life. I will work to make sure that every child in District 100 has the same opportunities I had and more,” said Mr. Johnson. He is currently working to implement West Dallas C.A.M.P. (Community Ambassador Mentoring Program), a partnership between C.F. Carr Elementary School, Big Brothers Big Sisters, and People Empowerment Project that will provide fourth grade students with one-on-one and group mentoring for success both in and out of the classroom. Mr. Johnson also serves as a mentor at Lincoln High School in South Dallas and is a frequent speaker at career days, academic pep rallies, and assemblies at DISD schools throughout District 100.
Mr. Johnson is married to Nakita Johnson, with whom he co-founded the Sí Se Puede Political Action Committee in March of 2008 to support progressive candidates and causes throughout Texas. He is a lifelong Democrat who has served as a Democratic precinct chair and has also been a financial supporter of the Dallas County Democratic Party, Dallas County Young Democrats, Texas Democratic Party, Democratic National Committee, and various Democratic candidates for several years. Mr. Johnson also served as an at-large delegate for Barack Obama to the 2008 Texas Democratic State Convention in Austin, Texas in addition to being an Obama Precinct Captain during the 2008 Democratic primary election contest.
District 100, which comprises parts of Oak Lawn, West Dallas, South Dallas, and Southeast Dallas, is currently represented by State Representative Terri Hodge (D-Dallas).