A minute with… Lynne M. Johnson
Spend a minute with Lynne M. Johnson, vice chairman, Orleans County, N.Y. Johnson serves as co-chair of the Niagara Orleans Regional Alliance (NORA), an alliance of two counties that fights for mutually beneficial initiatives.
Name three projects of which you are most proud.
1) To begin, I am the co-chairman of the Niagara Orleans Regional Alliance (NORA), a county government collaboration between Niagara and Orleans Counties to identify and capitalize on shared services, common ideas, experience and opportunities for the betterment of our citizens, and the conservancy of tax dollars. NORA was formed on Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2012.
2) Serving as Chairman of Emergency Management, seeing through a new $7.1 million emergency communications system that went live on May 28, 2014, when Orleans County switched over from an analog system to the new digital one.
3) Collaborating with all 10 towns in Orleans County to map out where broadband services do not reach. Worked with highway superintendents and also Niagara County for this large project so that grant applications could go forward.
Tell us about your most rewarding day at the office.
Each year in May, the county hosts a Top 10 Student banquet where the top 10 seniors in each school district are recognized for their achievements. The significance is the main speaker at the dinner. It is always a county graduate that became exceptionally successful. To hear the speaker instill pride and a drive to succeed in these high school graduates is an incredibly rewarding experience. I am privileged to attend these events and they are my highlight in elected office.
Tell us about your most challenging day at the office.
Three times now [since becoming a county legislator], we have brought the body of a soldier killed, home to our county. All three times the streets have been lined with residents paying their respects. The volunteer fire departments draped the American flag using ladder trucks, high over the main intersection. These soldiers were proud to serve the country they loved. Even those who didn’t know these soldiers say their deaths are a reminder of what all American soldiers do and the sacrifices they make.
It’s always very emotional when you go to a service like this. These soldiers stood for us when we needed them, and it’s important for Americans to stand for those who cannot stand anymore. Orleans County was representing the rest of America to show our gratitude and loyalty to better understand the depths of their sacrifice.
Do you have any personal, proven methods for approaching municipal challenges?
Be a good listener, attend all meetings, and do your homework.
One way in which you would change the world?
The spread of global democracy, better health, more education, less violence – it all adds up to a much better world. And that suggests the biggest new idea of all: it is time to abandon our usual pessimism about the state of the planet and the course of history. Adopt youthful optimism. If the glass is running half empty, add ice.
One fact people might be surprised to learn?
I am licensed to carry a concealed weapon in 33 states.