Henry “Hank” Johnson Jr. represents Georgia’s Fourth Congressional District in the United States House of Representatives. The district includes DeKalb County, where Johnson has lived and worked for the past several decades, as well as parts of Gwinnett and Rockdale Counties. Johnson is a Democrat, and one of the first two Buddhists elected to the United States Congress.
Johnson was born in Washington, D.C. in 1954. His father worked for the Bureau of Prisons, where his position as director of classifications and paroles was the highest ever held in the Bureau by an African American up to that time. Johnson received his undergraduate degree from Clark College (now Clark Atlanta University) in 1976 and his law degree from Texas Southern University’s Thurgood Marshall School of Law in 1979.
Hank Johnson became a partner with the law firm Johnson & Johnson Law Group LLC in Decatur, Georgia, where he practiced law for over twenty-five years. He was a Judge in the Magistrate Court of DeKalb County for over 10 years, presiding over civil and criminal jury trials. Johnson is a member of the State Bar of Georgia, Georgia Lawyers Foundation, and Georgia Association of Criminal Defense Attorneys. He is also the co-founder and former president of the DeKalb Lawyers Association.
Elected in 2000 to the DeKalb County Commission, Judge Johnson served two terms. He chaired the Commission’s Budget Committee and led the Commission’s Board of Education Legislative Liaison Committee where he supported efforts to improve the quality of public education. While serving on the Commission Judge Johnson was also a member of the DeKalb County Community Services Board.
In 2006, Hank Johnson won 44.4% of the democratic primary vote, forcing a run-off election against incumbent Cynthia McKinney. His win in the run-off with 59% of the vote ensured his election to the heavily Democratic 4th District. Johnson was sworn in on January 4, 2007, and was appointed to the Armed Services, Judiciary, and Small Business committees. Johnson has been an outspoken critic of the Iraq war. The first bill he introduced called for U.S. troops to be taken off of street patrol duty in Iraq. His first successful bill, an initiative aimed at promoting peace in Northern Uganda, was passed unanimously by Congress on June 18, 2007.
Hank Johnson is married to Mereda Davis Johnson, an attorney. They have two children, Randi and Alex.