A lifelong resident with a 100-plus year family history in Detroit, Senator Bert Johnson hit the ground running upon election to the Michigan House of Representatives in 2006 and has not looked back. A dynamic leader with the skills and experience to advance a progressive, forward-thinking agenda, Johnson quickly established himself as the go-to person when a problem had to be solved.
Recently, Johnson’s work on behalf of Michigan’s citizens has been recognized with various awards and honors, which include a “Men of Excellence” Award from the Michigan Chronicle, a “Great Expectations” Award from the Detroit Branch NAACP, a “Humane Legislator of the Year” Award from the Humane Society of the United States, a “Friend of the MAC” Award from the Michigan Association of Counties, and a “Cancer Prevention” Award from the national organization, Less Cancer, in honor of his work to establish Cancer Prevention Day in Michigan. His passions and legislative focus issues include educational access for all, civil rights, regional mass transit, foreclosure relief, improved and more affordable healthcare, environmental responsibility, and economic development and investment.
In the 2009-10 legislative session, only Johnson’s second term in the Michigan House, he solidified his reputation as a problem-solver. As a two-term Detroit Caucus Chair and serving as one of only two African-American committee chairs in the Michigan government, he held the gavel for the powerful Regulatory Reform committee. Johnson passed more laws that session than any other Democratic or Republican member in the House or the Senate. His performance led former Senate Democratic Floor Leader Buzz Thomas to call him, “Detroit’s most effective legislator.”
Today, Johnson is able to drive a statewide discussion despite serving in the ‘super-minority’ in the Senate, while still achieving real results for his constituents. He is a lead sponsor of legislation to establish a regional transit authority in southeastern Michigan and authored the bill that eliminated the egregious charges associated with the draconian Driver’s Responsibility Fee. Johnson has been on the front lines in opposing emergency managers, but uniquely, does not limit himself to mere loud opposition - rather, he joined with local leaders in Highland Park to create the Financial and Academic Reinvestment Commission to study the effects of large-scale state disinvestment in our core urban communities and to recommend solutions.
Johnson is a board member for Michigan Youth in Government and regularly addresses their conventions at the Capitol. He served as the Treasurer of the Michigan Legislative Black Caucus and serves with defense and prosecuting attorneys, judges, justice advocates and others on the statewide Indigent Defense Advisory Commission, tasked with making recommendations on improving Michigan’s public defender system.
The 2nd Senate District includes northeast Detroit, Highland Park, Hamtramck, Harper Woods and the five Grosse Pointe Communities. Johnson serves on the Appropriations Committee and as Minority Vice-Chair of the Regulatory Reform Committee. He resides in Highland Park with his family and is devoted to raising his daughter, India and two sons, Bertram and Nicholas.