We had the opportunity to sit down with NOLA Native, Rachael Johnson and get to know a little more about her. Before you head to the polls on March 25th we thought you’d be interested in knowing this candidate, too!
Rachel Johnson was born and raised in New Orleans with dreams of being a teacher, “I idolized the women who taught me and thought I would be teaching in an elementary school.” She currently lives in the Carrolton area of New Orleans and is a Senior Staff Attorney with Hartford Insurance where she handles all aspects of litigation on behalf of Hartford and its insureds. “We have cases across the state and handle all aspects of litigation from the beginning of a lawsuit through resolution.”
Q1. Did you follow a specific plan as you maneuvered through early adulthood or did you go with the flow?
RJ: I’ve never sat down and mapped out my path from beginning to end. I do set goals and map out steps to meet those goals. However, I am keenly aware that life does not happen according to the roadmaps we create. So, I adjust according to the opportunities and challenges presented to me. At my core I am woman of faith and I believe that God has a definite plan for my life.
Q2. How did you get to where you are now?
RJ: After graduating from Spelman College, I attended Smith College School for social work. I started my career as a social worker counseling individuals and families. I also helped place children living in foster care in permanent adoptive homes. After some time, I decided to go back to law school. I attended Tulane University law school. I was an active law student and after graduation I served as a law clerk for Judge Ramsey at Civil District Court. My first job practicing law was as an associate with a firm in Florida handling products liability, wrongful death and personal injury cases. In 2010, I wanted to move back home and I was hired as a staff attorney with Hartford insurance.
Q3. What obstacles came your way? Did you ever have a moment where you wanted to throw in the towel?
RJ: I can truly say that I’ve never wanted to quit on this journey- forward movement is very important to me. I attribute this to my faith. However, there are always stumbling blocks along the way or moments when I was discouraged. In those times, I find ways to refocus and remember that there is a purpose for my life and I am intent on fulfilling it.
Q4. Tell us about your work with The Martinet Society?
RJ: As President- I was serving on the executive board when I recruited to serve as president. A friend was president-elect; however, she knew she would not be able to serve because of her new job responsibilities. I was an active member of the organization but was not necessarily looking to lead it. Because of my love of the organization I agreed to do the job. It was a decision I do not regret. I was able to implement new programming, recruit new members and re-engage members who had been inactive for a time. Most importantly, I recruited dynamic attorneys to the leadership pipeline to ensure that the organization continues to move forward. I continue to be an active member of Martinet. I serve on the annual Scholarship Gala committee and I am also assisting with the Martinet Foundation which is the philanthropic arm of the organization.
Q5. Are you a part of any other organizations or sit on any other boards?
RJ: I am a member of the Louisiana State Bar board of governors, member of the boards of the New Orleans Bar Association, Louisiana Association of Defense Counsel, the Pro Bono Project and the A.P. Turead Inn of Court. I also serve on the board of the Paul S Morton, Sr. Scholarship Foundation. I am also a member of the New Orleans Chapter of the Links, Inc.
Q6. You are currently in high gear with your campaign to run for Civil District Court. What has motivated you to make this move?
RJ: I know the need for good, competent judges. I had been thinking about running for judge for a while and when Judge Regina Bartholomew Woods was elected to the Court of Appeal it left an open seat at Civil District Court. This does not happen often and timing is everything so I decided that this was the window of opportunity for me to go after this opportunity. I will bring energy, hard work and respect to the bench.
Q7. What has the process been like so far?
RJ: It’s been hectic! This is a brief election cycle and the race is for all of Orleans parish. My goal is to engage with as many citizens I can in a short period of time. Although fast paced, I am enjoying meeting folks and hearing their thoughts about the judicial system.
Q8. Tell us about any upcoming events you will be hosting
RJ: I have several supporters who will be hosting meet and greets around the city. If folks go to my website and sign up for email notifications they will get information about any upcoming events. www.rachaelforjudge.com . I can always use help from volunteers for canvassing and phone banking. Visit my website to sign up for to volunteer as well.
Q9. Why should people go out and vote in this election?
RJ: People should vote in EVERY election. It is important that we exercise our rights at every opportunity. A judicial election is no different. Citizens are likely to come into contact with a judge at some point in their lives.
Q10. Why should they vote for you, Rachel Johnson?
RJ: I am qualified to serve. I will bring diversity of perspective to the bench because of my varied law practice. I have an even temperament which is imperative for a jurist. I work hard and genuinely care about people.
Q11. In this seat, who would you come in contact with on a daily basis?
RJ: Initially, I will be on the domestic bench. I will come in contact with families and individuals involved in a variety of domestic matters. At some point, I will move to a regular docket where disputes of all kinds are heard. I will see attorneys representing a variety of clients as well as individuals representing themselves.
Q12. What should we expect from Judge Johnson?
RJ: You can expect an open mind, a commitment to uphold the rule of law, fairness, reliability, a strong work ethic and respect for every person who comes before me. In 10 to 20 years from now I still see myself as a hard-working, accessible judge who has played a hand in moving the judiciary forward.
Q13. If you could give advice to your 10yr. old self what would it be?
RJ: Your future is bright! Stay focused but enjoy the ride.
Q14. What is your motto or words to live by?
RJ: I don’t really have one. I just work hard, treat people kindly and surround myself with great people.
On March 25th Vote Rachael Johnson for Civil Court District Judge!