St. Paul, Minn.— After more than 18 years of fighting for kids and standing up for Minnesota schools in the legislature, Alice Johnson (DFL- Blaine) announced today she will not seek re-election. “When I was elected in 2012, I promised to serve for four years and have fulfilled that promise. I ran to end gridlock in St Paul and get things done by encouraging reasonable cooperation across the aisle,” Sen. Johnson said. “Last week, I turned 75 and feel proud of my accomplishments and I am hopeful for the future of Minnesota.”
Johnson, who is the Vice-Chair of both the Education Finance and Policy Committees has been an outspoken advocate of innovative ways to educate children and close the achievement gap. “We cannot keep investing in the same educational programs with the same results,” Sen. Johnson said. “We need courage to implement new and effective programs such as The Rock and Read Project which is helping children read at grade level through singing, and invest in Full Service Community Schools. In Albert Einstein’s words, ‘Insanity is doing the same thing and expecting different outcomes.’ In my words, sanity is having the courage to forge a new path, to look at new ideas, and ultimately improve student outcomes.”
Other notable accomplishments Sen. Johnson is proud of are:
- Raising awareness for comprehensive eye exams to encourage parents of new students to provide eye exams for their children. Undiagnosed eye problems in students can lead to difficulties in school, such as reading problems, lower grades, behavioral problems and self-esteem issues.
- Raising awareness of the importance of a school breakfast program.
- Implementing Statewide All Day Kindergarten.
- Increasing funding for school readiness programs to prepare Minnesota’s youngest learners for Kindergarten, which directly addresses the achievement gap.
- Increasing the minimum wage for working families.
- Improving our roads and bridges, including relieving traffic congestion on I-35W.
- Expansion of the National Sports Center soccer fields.
“The Minnesota Legislature is losing a talented leader,” Chuck Wiger, Chair of the Senate Education and Policy Committee said. “We will miss her wise counsel, intelligence, and passion in serving the people she represents. I wish Alice all the best in her much-deserved retirement. She has been such an asset to our caucus and the people of Minnesota.”
Senator Alice M. Johnson represents District 37 which includes most of Blaine, Spring Lake Park and Coon Rapids. She owned a home in Spring Lake Park for 47 years before moving to Blaine with her husband, Richard Jefferson, in the spring of 2015. Johnson attended Minneapolis Community College—graduating with an A.A., Concordia University—graduating with a B.A., and Harvard University—graduating with a M.A. in 1996.
Johnson’s legislative career began when she was elected to the Minnesota House of Representatives in 1986 and retired in 2000. She got back into politics when she won a seat in the Minnesota Senate in 2012. In the Senate, Johnson serves as Vice Chair on the Finance E-12 and Finance Committees, State and Local Government Committee, Pensions Commission, and appointment on the Minnesota Amateur Sports Commission. Always active in her community, Johnson was a Spring Lake Park City Council Member, board member of the Spring Lake Park, Blaine, Mounds View Volunteer Fire Department, board member of the Anoka-Ramsey Community College Foundation, and a volunteer Mediator for Anoka County.