By DAVID A. DÍAZ
Darryl S. Johnson, an independent businessman with more than 30 years’ experience in the Texas Legislature and in Congress, says that as Waller County Commissioner, he would use his leadership skills and influential friends in the business and political corridors of power to benefit all voters in his precinct.
Johnson, a Prairie View leader, said he will file for Pct. 3 Waller County Commissioner on Saturday, November 2019 as a Democrat. The filing period to appear on the ballot for the March 3, 2020 Democratic primary runs from November 9, 2019 through December 2, 2019.
Calling himself “the only true Democrat”, Johnson said will bring to the voters a proven record of working for small business owners, university students, working families – people from all-walks-of-life.
“Waller County, and especially Precinct 3, are blessed with the brainpower, willpower, and staying power to become a regional and statewide leader in higher education, economic development, tourism, and job creation,” said Johnson. “But we need someone with know-how, vision, and abilities to help us achieve a higher level of greatness.”
The father of two daughters, Johnson said that among his many strategies, he would work closely with state and federal lawmakers to identify sources of funding from Austin and Washington, D.C. to secure millions of dollars for vital programs in Precinct 3, ranging from more money for transportation needs to require that a permanent secure voting location be established on the campus of Prairie View A&M University.
To help small business owners, as Waller County Commissioner, Johnson said he would propose the creation of the Waller County Small Business Set Aside Program, which would require that up to half of all county contracts and purchases shall be be reserved for small business owners.
To qualify, a business owner must live in Waller County, be in business for at least two years, owe no taxes to Waller County, and provide the latest income tax return that proves the business made less than $200,000 that year in net income, he recommended.
“The federal and state governments have such programs, and so should Waller County, because small businesses, including sole proprietors and Mom and Pop shops, make up almost 99 percent of all businesses in the U.S.,” said Johnson.
He also proposed that Waller County establish an internship program with Prairie View A&M so students can earn university credit for serving in the various departments of the county government.
“The internship program can bring valuable professional experience for the students, help them understand how government works, make positive connections with our area’s top governmental, business and community leaders, and allow us to provide more services at no cost to our constituents,” Johnson explained.
To continue to improve the county bureaucracy, Johnson also is calling for the establishment of one purchasing office to handle all requests for purchases. Currently, each county department has its own purchasing office.
He also wants the structure of the county government to change so it will be run by the entire county commissioners court, which includes the county judge, which would allow each county commissioner to have budgets for their respective precincts.
Securing more funding for key county government services without raising the tax rate also is a priority for Johnson.
“I know where to look at our state capitol and our nation’s capital for the financial resources we deserve in order to improve our economy, to create more jobs, to serve and protect our families and our future,” he said. “I know how the complicated systems work in the Texas Legislature and in Congress, and I will make them work for all of us in Precinct 3. No other candidate can deliver for us like I will.”
Johnson said that he also would fight for programs that would provide needed financial and health care resources for senior citizens.
“Older Texans have made a lifetime of contributions to our nation, and it is a sacred obligation of our society to help those who need it in their retirement years,” he said. “One of the actions I will take as a Waller County Commissioner is to set up town hall meetings with all constituents, including sessions specifically with senior citizens, not only to hear their concerns, but especially to learn from their wisdom what I can do to better serve them.”
He also pledged to continue building the public’s trust in the Precinct 3 office by always meeting with constituents and being accessible and visible.
“I will be the type of county commissioner who not only has an open-door policy to my constituents, but more than that, I will always be out in my precinct visiting with residents,” said Johnson. “I won’t be a politician who you only see and hear around election time.”
During his career, Johnson has worked for elected leaders in the U.S. Congress, Texas Governor’s Office, and Texas Legislature, and was a key consultant in 2010 for the Texas gubernatorial campaign of multi-billionaire Farouk Shami of Houston.
He has also worked with state agencies such as the Secretary of State, Texas Department of Insurance, Texas Water Development Board, and Texas Water Commission.
Among his community service roles, Johnson served as a Waller County representative to the Houston- Galveston Area Council, a regional organization through which local governments consider issues and cooperate in solving area wide problems, and served on the Waller County Airport Commission when the region was developing the idea for an airport in Katy.
“Precinct 3 deserves someone with the abilities to address the Captains of Industry and the Titans of Politics, and partner with them to shape the laws, policies, and business decisions that will lead to prosperity for our region,” Johnson said. “What I have learned from decades of working with the Powers-that-Be is to always let them know that we have what it takes for them and us to succeed.”
” Included in his extensive legislative staff experiences are positions with Rep. Paul Ragsdale of Dallas, Rep. Fred L. Blair of Dallas, Rep. Garfield W. Thompson of Ft. Worth, Rep. Delwyn Jones of Lubbock, Rep. Larry Evans of Houston, Rep Harold Dutton of Houston, and Rep. Roberto Gutiérrez of McAllen.
While serving on the staff for Evans, Johnson was the Director for the Texas Legislative Black Caucus in the Texas House of Representatives.
His knowledge of the executive branch of Texas government was shaped by his employment with three Texas Secretary of States – John Fainter, Myra McDaniel (the first African American to hold this position), and Jack Raines.
He also served as an intern for Gov. Dolph Briscoe and was on the staff for Gov. Mark White.
In Washington, D.C., Johnson worked as an intern for Congressman Bill Gray and Congressman Charles Wilson.
As a registered lobbyist, he had an extensive list of clients, including The Association of General Contractors, the Texas Society of Professional Engineers, Consulting Engineers Council, The Outdoor Advertising Association, the Texas Automobile Dealers Association, Progressive Insurance, Met Life, USAA, and GEICO.
Johnson’s community work includes establishing a monthly men’s breakfast program at St. Francis Episcopal Church in Prairie View, a men’s Christmas caroling group that sings to the elderly, sick and shut-in; and a college ministry program.
He attended The University of Texas at Austin and Texas A&I, now Texas A&M Kingsville.
Johnson has called Prairie View home for more than 20 years.