Johnson to run for Pct. 2 Harrison County commissioner
Robin Y. Richardson
Oct. 10, 2017 at 4 a.m.
Robert Johnson III, a lifelong resident of Harrison County, has announced his intent to run for Precinct 2 Harrison County Commissioner in the March 2018 Republican Primary.
Zephaniah Timmins is the current sitting commissioner and plans to run for re-election on the Democratic ticket.
"I just wanted to give back," Johnson said of his reason for running. "I've been here all my life. I kind of, firsthand, get to see what's going on."
"Nowadays you can buy two acres in Precinct 2 and run for county commissioner. I think I'd bring a little more to the table being that I live there," he said. "I've been a lifelong resident of Precinct 2, from when I grew up to when I went to school, came back home and returned to Precinct 2.
"I love being there," he said of Precinct 2.
While maintaining good roads is a priority as well as flood control, Johnson said it's not the only thing he's concerned about.
"It's about the older people in the community," he said.
Living around many elderly and disabled, Johnson desires to help make their quality of life better by being their voice, as a county commissioner, and rallying for a possible transit service to get the elderly residents to their doctor appointments, for instance, and back home safely.
"When you hear the 'country', 'the county', you don't get that transportation out there like you would the city (limits)," he said. "I want to just see if I can help kind of get that. If a mobile bus could come out and take them back and forth to the doctor. If there was any kind of way that we can get them (there) and get them back home safely."
Johnson, a lifelong resident of the Five Notch Road community, said he sees the struggles of his own mother, who has fallen ill, and wants to help other elderly residents that may be in her position, too.
"I just don't want to talk about my area that I live in. I want to get to know other people's areas, know their granddaddies or their grandmothers and what can be done to kind of help them better as far as a lot of people can't take off to go to the doctor. What kind of situation we can get to get them to the doctor on time, and get them back home safe and sound?" he said.
Besides advocating for a reliable and safe transit system for county residents, he would also like to partner with Harrison County Sheriff's Office and rally for more routine patrol in the rural areas.
"You can call them and say come out here and patrol through my area because not just the country (rural area), but the whole nation is getting bad," Johnson said. "It's the older people that are in the house by themselves" that need to feel safe.
If elected county commissioner, Johnson said he would like to host regular Town Hall meetings at places, like his home church Paradise Baptist, located in the Five Notch community.
"I'd like to get me somewhere like Paradise Baptist Church and meet with Precinct 2 and let them know what's going on, what we're doing," he said.
He said oftentimes people vote on things, but aren't aware of what they are voting for. He wants the people of Precinct 2 to stay informed about everything from the county budget to the tax rate.
"I think we need to get out and talk to them and let them know what's really going on … kind of help you out … know what you can and can't do."
"You have a voice," he said.
Johnson said living in Precinct 2 his entire life, he loves the area, and frequents the communities of Five Notch, Liberty Cut-off, Farm-to-Market Road 2625, Blocker Crossroads and Highway 31 a lot.
"If I become county commissioner, I'd like to go in other people communities and be able to talk about their communities the same way I talk about the Five Notch Road," he said. "I just want to get in here and see if I can do something (to improve the quality of life)."
Johnson spent 13 years in the oilfield. He's owned his own trucking company, R. Johnson Trucking, since 2013. Johnson said his role as an entrepreneur won't interfere with his duties as a full-time commissioner, if elected.
"If I have to, I'll put somebody in the truck and let them drive it," he said.
Johnson said he wanted to run for office years ago, when he moved back to Marshall in 2014 from living a short while in Longview.
"That's when I started saying we've got to find something to get involved in, got to be a voice for the people or something," he said, sharing it's always been a passion of his to help others.
That passion intensified after he found his own self temporarily disabled, following a horse accident.
"A horse fell on me," said Johnson, sharing how he was bound to a wheelchair for several months and not able to work.
Johnson said he's always been the type to help, even offering to assist people while at the grocery store; but the experience of his horse accident gave him a whole new outlook on life, wanting to aid people - especially the elderly and disabled - even more. Johnson said he promised God if he recovered from the accident, and was able to walk again, that he would make a difference, doing what he could to be of service.
"It makes you get a different perspective," he said.
Johnson and his wife, Chanda Johnson, and family live in Marshall. They are members of Paradise Baptist Church. In his spare time, Johnson stays busy coaching his children's Little League basketball, football and baseball teams.