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Johnson joins race for SOS

May 05, 2010 - Groveland Township resident and former lawmaker Ruth Johnson has announced she will run for Secretary of State.

Johnson said she will battle special interest groups who support allowing voters to register the day of an election and not requiring voters to have to show identification at polls.

"Between no photo identification and same day voting, many people asked me to run for Secretary of State," said Johnson, 55. "There's a threat to our elections right now."

Current Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land cannot run again due to term limits.

"Right now we have no checks and balances. We need to protect our system of one person, one vote. Voter fraud threatens our democracy, the Democrats make it easy to defraud, as easy as tying your shoe. It's a fight for democracy that we can't afford to lose."

Also running for the GOP nomination for Secretary of State are Senators Michelle McManus of Lake Leelanau and Cameron Brown of Sturgis, Calhoun County Clerk Anne Norlander and state Rep. Paul Scott of Grand Blanc. A candidate will be selected at the GOP convention in late August.

"We need to streamline the Secretary of State Offices, utilizing more online services and privatizing as many services as possible," Johnson said.

For example, she added, Michigan auto dealers could be bonded and register the plates right at their business.

"Since 2004, the fees at Secretary of State have increased 750 percent," she said. "We need to drive these fees back down through cutting edge technology."

Johnson said she will strive to be a strong advocate for the clerks statewide assuring voting machines are in top working order—rather than replaceing the machines at taxpayer expense.

A Waterford Township native, Johnson put herself through college, working to earn an associate's degree from Oakland Community College and a bachelor's degree from Oakland University in 1977. She earned her teaching certificate and went on to earn her master's degree - with honors - in 1985 from Wayne State University

.She taught for the Clarkston Public Schools, and later owned and operated a small business. During her graduate years, she had an internship at Oakland County Probate Court. Following graduation, she worked at Oakland County Children's Village.

In 1988, Johnson was elected to the Oakland County Board of Commissioners and served five terms, a total of 10 years, including six years as vice-chairperson. As a county commissioner, she tackled such issues as putting trustee prisoners to work, educating the public regarding the dangers of arsenic in local water supplies, and pushing for an ethics policy in county purchasing.

As a state representative (1998-2004), Johnson exposed unethical business practices at the Oakland Intermediate School District. The year-long investigation led to criminal charges against one top administrator, tougher laws, and, more importantly, restored money earmarked for kids, to kids. She also chaired the Land Use and Environment Committee, sponsoring Open Space Preservation legislation.

Johnson is the first woman elected clerk in Oakland County's 176-year history. She reformed the office, providing many online services to residents and saving Oakland County taxpayers millions of dollars.

Johnson served as Assistant Whip, co-chaired the Capitol Caucus and served on the Leadership Committee. She chaired the House Land Use and Environment Committee and also served on the Education, Health Policy, Transportation, Veteran Affairs and Homeland Security committees.

Johnson was elected Oakland County Clerk/Register of Deeds in 2004 and was the Republican candidate for Lieutenant Governor of Michigan as running mate of Dick DeVos in 2006. She was re-elected Oakland County Clerk in 2008.

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