View Full Version : Willa Johnson running for state senate

08-02-2005, 12:25 PM
Although I'll be glad to see her leave the council, I'm not a fan of Willa Johnson in any office. It has nothing to do with her race, gender, or anything like that. I do suppose she serves her constituents well. I just question whether she really knows what she's doing.
"Johnson becomes latest to look higher than council

By Bryan Dean
The Oklahoman

Willa Johnson Five months after winning her fourth term on the Oklahoma City Council, Willa Johnson is looking for another job.
Johnson is one of four candidates seeking the state Senate District 48 job that term-limited Sen. Angela Monson, D-Oklahoma City, is leaving. If she wins, she will be the third council member to leave the city for another elective office the past year.

Current and former council members said the city is becoming a good place to launch a political career. But they caution against using the council as a political launching pad.

"I think if a person comes into the city council using the council as a stepping stone, I think it's negative," Ward 5 Councilman Jerry Foshee said.

Johnson, who represents Ward 7, said she never looked at the council that way. She did not publicly mention an intention of running for state Senate during her latest council campaign, but said the decision should not be a surprise.

"I had thought about running for state Senate for a long time, but I thought Senator Monson was doing a great job," Johnson said. "There has always been that talk. What I ran for in March was the only seat that was open."

Other candidates for the seat include state Rep. Mike Shelton, D-Oklahoma City, Shirley Darrell, a former Oklahoma County commissioner, Connie Johnson, a former staff member for the state Senate, and Greg Nelson, who did not list his occupation on his filing papers.

Johnson is trying to follow Rep. Guy Liebmann, R-Oklahoma City, who left the Ward 8 council seat last year after winning a seat in the state Legislature. Brent Rinehart also resigned from the council last year after winning the District 2 Oklahoma County commissioner's seat.

Liebmann and Rinehart said the council is good training for higher office.

"The experience you gain by sitting on the council -- it can't be matched by any other level of government," Rinehart said. "You are held accountable much more quickly. City government is the closest level of government there is to the people."

Both Rinehart and Liebmann said they never intended the city council to be the start of a broader political career. But, they said turnover on the council is healthy.

Liebmann also discounts the idea citizens deserve to know if a council candidate might run for another office before finishing his or her term.

"Generally speaking, people do not tell their employers they are going to change jobs until it is time to do it," Liebmann said. "I don't think it's an obligation."

City government experience doesn't guarantee victory at other levels. Johnson, Foshee and Liebmann all ran for mayor in 1998, but outsider Kirk Humphreys won.

Humphreys was denied last year when he ran for U.S. Senate. But Foshee said the city's recent success has made jumping to other positions easier for council members.

"Everybody likes political people who do what they say they are going to do," Foshee said. "MAPS has been a success. I think anytime you succeed in anything, it carries over." "

08-02-2005, 04:53 PM
I'm not a fan of Willa Johnson in any office. It has nothing to do with her race, gender, or anything like that. I do suppose she serves her constituents well. I just question whether she really knows what she's doing.

I second that motion, all in favor..............

08-02-2005, 05:11 PM
I second that motion, all in favor..............

Say aye.


08-02-2005, 05:34 PM
I have a feeling we're going to miss Angela Monson.

08-02-2005, 05:35 PM
Although I am not a fan of Willa's, I believe she is better off representing people on the local level (city council). I know for a fact that those in her ward love her, because she attends so many activities that take place in her ward, and she has helped NE OKC make so much progress. I really don't think she would win a senate race anyway, because those in her ward do not want to see her leave.

If she doesn't win, I certainly hope that Shirley Darrell doesn't win either.

I don't believe Willa Johnson is ready to be a senator.