Mayor, Richard “Dick” Johnson, says he would like to serve another term heading up the Devils Lake City Commission, so you will find his name on the ballot on Tuesday, June 12 when you go to vote.

Mayor, Richard “Dick” Johnson, says he would like to serve another term heading up the Devils Lake City Commission, so you will find his name on the ballot on Tuesday, June 12 when you go to vote.

Although Johnson grew up in Langdon, graduating from St. Alphonsus High School in 1966, he says Devils Lake is really his home. He graduated from Mayville State College in 1970 with a degree in education that he never really used officially, unless you count his student teaching experience in Binford, ND.

He used his education in economics and business, however, in his various endeavors, including starting a couple of businesses in Devils Lake with his brother; One Hour Martinizing, Royal Lanes Bowling Alley and the Southview West Trailer Court. In 1972 he married Jacqueline “Jackie” Zarr who was a Devils Lake native. They have four children, who are all grown up, and have seven grandchildren, now, too.

Johnson began working at the Lake Region Law Enforcement Center in 1990 when he was hired to be the interim director. It must have worked out well, because he ended up being hired as director and served in that capacity until he retired in 2013. Mayor Johnson says in his 30 years on the City Commission, the last eight as Mayor, he has seen a great deal accomplished in this community. The biggest and toughest battle was dealing with the flooding, all the road raises and embankment protection for the city. He and many others made several trips to Washington D.C. and says he believes the city made history because no other place in the country faced an on-going challenge like DL did and received the financial support that Devils Lake has. He says it was something of a miracle.

He is enthusiastic about the city’s growth and expansion pointing out that when people think of moving to a new place, they look for good schools and healthcare, two top priorities for most people. Johnson says we’ve got both and much more to offer, including everything you can find through Lake Region State College. Plus the city has a workable plan for its infrastructure needs now and into the future. “Twenty-five years ago, when we finished the first downtown rehab project, Devils Lake had the best downtown in the state,” Johnson said.

“Now we hope to see that downtown get another rehab, if the project goes forward, then we might once again be the envy of other cities around the state,” he added. The state’s governor, when last he toured Devils Lake said, “It’s got good bones.”

There’s so much that could happen and Johnson wants to be right in there helping the city be the best it can be. They haven’t given up on one day having the City Offices in the same facility as the Tourism office and the Chamber office and somehow incorporating a convention center or event center there, too, maybe even an indoor swimming pool the community can enjoy year ‘round.

He says the commission will soon have some “new blood” in recently elected Commissioner Shane Hamre and whoever wins the election on Tuesday, June 12 who will then sit in the seat vacated by Commissioner Craig Stromme, who chose not to seek re-election. That “new blood” will be combined with the experience he brings to the commission and Commissioner Dale Robbins, who is not up for re-election this time around, they will have an exciting road ahead of them. “You need a mix of new ideas, some new vision and to balance that with wisdom and experience of those who have been doing this for a while and that will be a winning combination,” Johnson concludes. Johnson is running unopposed for his seat on the commission as Mayor.