DECATUR, GA—DeKalb County District 3 Commissioner Larry Johnson celebrated a monumental milestone on Monday, Jan. 9, marking 20 years of public service and the inauguration for his sixth term in office.
A crowd of supporters witnessed the inauguration, which was held at the Porter Sanford III Performing Arts Center on Rainbow Drive. DeKalb County State Court Judge Johnny Panos performed the installation.
Johnson was first elected in 2002—at the time, becoming one of the youngest members to serve on the DeKalb County Board of Commissioners.
In 2021, Johnson was appointed to represent DeKalb County on a national level. Active in the National Association of Counties (NACo) since 2005, he was sworn in as president of the organization by DeKalb County CEO Michael Thurmond at NACo’s 86th Annual Business Meeting in Prince George’s County, MD.
Over the past two decades, Johnson has worked to support numerous initiatives for the betterment of District 3 and the community at-large including the construction of the Rainbow Park Amphitheater, which opened in 2022 and offered a free summer concert series to the community. The amphitheater is designed to complement the adjacent Porter Sanford III Performing Arts Center.
Johnson has built a legacy on “results you can see,” his slogan over the years for community service. Working collaboratively with community residents and other partners, he has served more than 20,000 children through his annual Tree of Love, providing Christmas presents to needy families, along with hosting food and coat giveaways during the holidays.
Travel down Candler Road and the sidewalks that you see are a result of Johnson’s work. He helped to push for a $4.4 million facelift for sidewalks from Candler Road to Columbia Drive; and the construction of a 170-unit housing development for seniors and the South DeKalb Senior Center.
Johnson also championed major improvements at four parks in his district: Longdale ($200K), Midway($72K), Exchange ($624K), and Gresham Park and Athletic Complex, where the Atlanta Braves Foundation contributed $1.5M of the more than $5M for upgrades, the Gresham Park Recreation Center, which also was supported by the Atlanta Hawks and Allstate Insurance.
Johnson has held police meet-ups to foster healthy relationships between law enforcement and the community, financial literacy programs for seniors, the Red, White and Blue event for veterans, and annual HOA educational bootcamp meetings, and a Single Parents Expo to provide resources fo single moms and dads. A strong health advocate, Johnson launched initiatives to encourage exercise by walking and pushed for the Michele Obama Walking Trail in South South DeKalb.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Johnson appropriated $1.4M in federal funding to community organizations to assist those impacted by the virus including providing help for utilities, food, and mortgage and rent. Johnson helped find new housing for 11 families who were being evicted.
After the swearing-in ceremony was conducted, Johnson thanked residents, the Board of Commissioners, community partners, the Friends of Larry Johnson and his wife, Tanisha, and his daughter, Tiara, for their support. Johnson pledged to bring more collaborations “to get things done” during his next four years as commissioner.
Photos and video by Mackenzie N. Morgan