State Superintendent Mark Johnson announces candidacy for lieutenant governor

RALEIGH, N.C. (WITN)- The state school superintendent says he wants to be the state's next lieutenant governor.

In a press release Tuesday morning, Mark Johnson declared that change is needed in Raleigh as "more of the same is not working".

Johnson is in his first term as superintendent after defeating the long-serving June Atkinson in 2016.

"North Carolina deserves a leader who will fight to make all government more accountable, more efficient, and more transparent," said Johnson in a statement. "That's why today I am declaring my candidacy for Lt. Governor of North Carolina. I've seen first-hand how bad state government can be. I've already been in the trenches fighting the deep state in state bureaucracy."

Lt. Gov Dan Forest has already announced he's running for governor next year.

Johnson is joining a crowded field of candidates for the lieutenant governor's job. He is the eighth announced Republican who wants the position, while five Democrats have also declared their intentions.


Mark Johnson statement

Four years ago, I declared my candidacy for statewide office because I recognized that change was needed. Establishment folks were quick to tell me that I should wait my turn or that I couldn't win because I wasn't old enough. But waiting was not an option because I recognized what North Carolina parents and educators already knew, more of the same wasn't working for public education in North Carolina!

The more I campaigned on a message of change, the more pushback I encountered from the political system. Media Elites and Establishment Insiders, Republican and Democrat alike, were scared of the prospect of someone in office who would not just go along to get along. I ignored the naysayers and focused on the concerns working families shared with me about their children's education. And together on Election Night, we proved the Establishmentarians wrong, and they were terrified.

Before I was even sworn into office, Establishment Republicans and Democrats on the NC Board of Education sued me at taxpayer expense in a desperate attempt to fight change. They spent education funding on lawyers in courtrooms instead of teachers in classrooms so they could protect Common Core and other status quo strategies that haven't worked.

My team and I fought, we won, and we went to work transforming the state education agency. We've worked for and secured raises for teachers, reductions in testing, and new tools and strategies that help each student learn at their own pace instead of getting left behind.

But this positive change has been a fight every step of the way. When we found $15 million that Democrats were keeping for the state bureaucracy instead of sending to teachers, we even got criticized for getting that money to the teachers it was intended for! North Carolinians need to know that the Political System in Raleigh fights first and foremost for Bureaucratic Fiefdoms. That has to stop.

North Carolina deserves a leader who will fight to make all government more accountable, more efficient, and more transparent. That's why today I am declaring my candidacy for Lt. Governor of North Carolina. I've seen first-hand how bad state government can be. I've already been in the trenches fighting the deep state in state bureaucracy.

To be clear, the vast majority of DPI employees are hard working professionals who seek to do their job to the best of their ability. They care about what's best for public education in North Carolina. But they could not pursue what was best because the Establishment at the top only wanted more of the same.

NC DPI was a broken system focused more on protecting the Establishment's status quo standards, tools, and strategies. They were content to stand in place rather than move forward.

North Carolina should be a 21st century leader, but we can't do it with the relics of a 20th century bureaucracy. I want to take the fight to the next level. If you want more of the same, vote for someone else. If you want to continue the fight for change, vote Mark Johnson for Lieutenant Governor.

This campaign will be about what's best for the working families of North Carolina, not the Media Elites or Establishment Insiders."