Special to The Dallas Examiner
From humble beginnings in West Dallas to mayor of Dallas, state Rep. Eric Johnson – who grew up in West Dallas and went on to attend prestigious schools, including Greenhill, Harvard and Princeton – became the city’s second Black mayor on Saturday. He will be among the youngest to serve in that position.
He defeated Scott Griggs, who served as a Dallas City Council member for eight years. According to the Dallas County Elections Department, 74,106 people voted in the mayoral race. Johnson received 41,208 votes and Griggs received 32,898 votes. Less than 10% of the registered voters in the county voted.
Surrounded by supporters and friends at a victory celebration Saturday night at the Fairmont Hotel, Johnson acknowledged his faith as his foundation.
“Every single time, without exception, that I have stood before the voters of Dallas, I have put my faith in two places: in the good Lord above and in the voters,” Johnson said. “And in every case, I have not been let down.”
Johnson also recognized the sacrifices made by his mother and wife during his campaign for mayor. While campaigning, he kept his full-time duties as state representative for District 100. He filed numerous bills, made committee briefings and voted.
Johnson served as a representative for the district since 2010. During his time in the Texas House of Representatives, he worked with members from both sides of the aisle to achieve legislation beneficial to Texas and Dallas.
Among Johnson’s achievements, according to his office:
• Champion for early childhood education in the Texas Legislature, and in 2013 authored and passed legislation that specifically allows the Dallas Independent School District to invest funds saved by early high school graduates in full-day pre-K programs.
• Authored and passed legislation in 2015, working with the Dallas Police Department, the Texas Attorney General and statewide law enforcement that created a statewide reporting system for officer-involved shootings, and in 2017 added an enforcement mechanism to the law.
• Authored and passed legislation in 2017 to prohibit the suspension of students in pre-K through second grade throughout the state.
• Sponsored and passed legislation in 2015 that established statewide standards for the use of body cameras by police and helped law enforcement agencies throughout the state procure and operate body cameras using grants distributed by the state.
• Authored legislation in 2017 to address the potential negative impacts of gentrification by providing additional tools for the city of Dallas to use to increase the availability of affordable housing and protect longtime residents from involuntary displacement.
• Successfully amended the Texas Constitution in 2017 to allow financial institutions to incentivize personal savings by offering innovative financial products in 2017.
• Joint authored and passed major legislation in 2013 to fund water infrastructure and conservation projects throughout the state of Texas.
• Authored and passed legislation in 2015 to create Banking Development Districts to expand access to mainstream banking services.
• Authored the Employment Non-Discrimination Act in the Texas Legislature, a bill that would prohibit employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity or expression. In 2017, Johnson passed the ENDA out of the House Committee on Business and Industry, the furthest the bill has ever advanced in Texas legislative history, with bipartisan support after Johnson convinced colleagues on both sides of the aisle to vote for the measure.
• Authored and passed legislation in 2015 to allow city, county and district attorneys to prosecute a particular type of real estate fraud first highlighted by The Dallas Morning News.
• Authored and passed legislation in 2015 to prohibit the elimination of in-person visitation in county jails across Texas.
• Authored and passed legislation in 2015 to allow city and district attorneys to prosecute a certain type of fraud in which certain notaries public exploit Spanish speakers who conflate the Spanish word for notary public (notario) with attorney.
• Authored and passed legislation in 2015 that eliminated barriers to crowdfunding for small businesses.
Johnson ran on a platform of unifying Dallas. He faces many challenges as he is sworn in June 17 as the 60th mayor of Dallas.