Johnson announces House bid for District 17 Maxine Johnson, a Democrat and a long-time resident of Vermillion, has filed her petition to run for representative to the State House of Representatives from District 17.
Johnson retired from her position as secretary from The University of South Dakota three years ago.
Johnson grew up in Wisconsin (Fountain City), attended grade school there and public schools in Winona, MN. In 1955, she graduated from Winona State University with a major in English and minors in speech and social studies. After graduation, she taught English and speech at Mapleton, MN for two years. In November, Johnson will have been married to Allen D. Johnson for 44 years. They have three children, one son is deceased, and five grandchildren.
Six years were spent in Minneapolis while her husband attended graduate school at the University of Minnesota. While in Minneapolis, she worked for the Community Chest and as a personal assistant to Dr. Paul Rosenbloom at the school of engineering. After moving to Vermillion, she chose to remain at home to raise four children and began a career as a volunteer in the community.
She has been active in the Scouting programs, serving as troop leader and neighborhood chairman for the Girl Scouts and as den mother for the Boy Scouts. For the past several years, she has been a supporter of and a volunteer at the W.H. Over Museum.
Presently, she is serving as first vice president of the Executive Board of Directors of the Friends of the W.H. Over Museum. She also works as program chairman for the museum and had previously served as secretary of the board for several years.
Part of the duties as program chair are to organize and direct the annual Christmas festival which she has done for the past five years. She also serves as docent for groups touring the museum. Other organizations to which she belongs are the Vermillion Area Arts Council, the Clay County Historical Society, Friends of the Vermillion Public Library, Vermillion Senior Citizens Center, and The University of South Dakota Faculty Women's Club.
Johnson has held several offices in that group and has served two terms as president.
She also works as a hospice volunteer and served on a sub-committee of the Vermillion Can Do project. As a member of St. Paul's Episcopal Church, she has served in many capacities: Sunday school teacher, vestry member, altar guild director, and newsletter editor. Johnson was employed in several departments at USD including 10 years with the department of nursing. At retirement, she was employed in the department of biology working as an assistant to Dr. Karen Olmstead in the administration of a prestigious Howard Hughes Medical Institute grant. She also serves as secretary for the Clay County Democrats and is a member of the Democratic Central Committee.
"In the past few years, I have been very disappointed in the lack of support shown for South Dakota citizens by our Legislature," Johnson said. "The apathetic attitude displayed toward the plight of our young citizens who are enmeshed in the corrections system, the lack of support, monetary or verbal, for our teachers, non-existent respect for higher education, and a general disregard for the welfare and dignity of South Dakota's citizens are a few reasons I feel compelled to run for this office.
"Although I know that one individual cannot often change the scheme of things, I would pledge, if elected, that I would speak for the welfare of all constituents and that I would be willing to listen to all concerns," she added. "This past year, I found the notoriety concerning South Dakota's juvenile correction system to be both embarrassingly painful and expensive for our state and I was extremely proud of the fact that the only individuals to speak out against the injustices in the system were fellow Democrats. As your representative from District 17, I would be prepared to be that kind of legislator."