Delaware Rep. James “JJ” Johnson revealed his future plans to his colleagues today.
It’s been rumored for some time that Johnson was ready to leave his legislative duties. He addressed the rumor on the House floor on Tuesday.
“The rumor is that I’m not running for re-election and that I plan on retiring and I want to set the record straight….it’s true,” Johnson said. The 16th District representative has served the constituents there for 7 terms, totaling 14 years.
Prior to taking office, Rep. Johnson served in the United States Army and spent close to 40 years working at the Chrysler plant in Newark. He’s also a former United Auto Workers (UAW) president and member of the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists where he led the fight for workers’ rights and fair wages in 2005 within the General Assembly.
Sen. Margaret Rose Henry who announced her retirement earlier this year weighed in on Johnson’s announcement.
“I don’t know what this place is going to do without the two of us, but I’m glad I won’t be here to find out,” said Sen. Henry who served in her role since 1994. “Serving with J.J. for the last 13 years, both in Dover and in our districts, has been a joy and an honor.”
Johnson also shares his district with two other members of the Senate Democratic leadership. They’re Senate President Pro Tempore David McBride, and Senate Majority Whip Nicole Poore, D-New Castle.
“This is a tough year for retirements in Legislative Hall,” said Sen. McBride. “J.J. has always been guided by what’s right, rather than what’s easy or popular, and that’s made him one of the General Assembly’s most respected and well-liked members. His retirement is well-earned.”
“We work as a team on behalf of the greater New Castle community, and I can’t overstate how important J.J. has been to that team. From his role on the Joint Finance Committee to his willingness to go to bat for every single family in his district, no matter how big or small the task, he has proven time and time again how much he loves his community – and we love him, too,” Sen. Poore said.
Johnson has also worked for equal rights, addressed racial disparities in the criminal justice system as a member of the Delaware’s Black Caucus and Chair of the House Corrections Committee. He led the conversation and many initiatives on prison reform and was committed to helping to balance the state’s budget.
“I want to first begin by thanking the citizens of the 16th representative district who saw fit to elect me for the last 14 years,” said Johnson who thanked his wife, Ernestine Johnson and family for their ever-lasting support.
Rep. Johnson also extended an attitude of gratitude towards everyone he’s encountered at Legislative Hall in Dover.
“I want to thank all the staff, all the employees that work here, the janitors, the clerks all of those who work behind the scene that make us all look good,” Johnson said.