Grantland L. Johnson (September 29, 1948 – August 19, 2014) was a Sacramento-area politician and former Secretary of California's Health and Human Services Agency, the first African-American to hold the position. He was born in the Del Past Heights neighborhood in northern section of Sacramento, California. He was raised by his grandmother, Irene Wallace and mother Mae Willie Johnson and grew up with his two sisters, Rosemary and Cathy. Grantland attended Grant High School where he participated in extra curricular activities such as football, the violin, the debate team and baseball.
Grantland Johnson was one of a limited number of United States politicians who had served in offices on the city, county, state, and federal levels. Johnson began his career in politics in 1983, when he was elected to the Sacramento City Council. As a councilmember, he helped to establish Sacramento's Economic Development Department and Neighborhood Services Department.
When Ted Sheedy chose not to seek reelection to the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors in 1986, Johnson ran for the District 1 seat, defeating Roger Dickinson in a runoff election. Johnson was reelected in 1990.
Shortly after Bill Clinton was elected President of the United States in 1992, Johnson began to pursue a position in the President's administration. In 1993, President Clinton announced that Johnson had been appointed to the position of Regional Director of the United States Department of Health and Human Services by Secretary of Health and Human Services Donna Shalala.
After serving more than six years in the Clinton Administration, Johnson was selected by California Governor Gray Davis in 1999 to become the state's Secretary of Health and Human Services, the largest state agency in the United States.
Johnson had announced plans for a political comeback in 2010 as he was running for his old seat on the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors that was being vacated after 4 terms by Roger Dickinson who was running for the State Assembly.
Grantland Johnson graduated from Grant Union High School (Sacramento, California) in 1966. Johnson attended American River College, where he received an Associate of Arts degree. He then went on to attend California State University, Sacramento, where he earned a Bachelor's degree in Government in 1974. He has been awarded honorary doctorate degrees from Sacramento State and Golden Gate University. 
Awards and recognition
A soccer field in Hagginwood Park–a park in the Del Paso Heights neighborhood of Sacramento, California–was named for Johnson in 2011.
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- "Johnson Beats Dickinson in Supervisor Race" (FEE REQUIRED). Sacramento Bee (The McClatchy Company). November 5, 1986. p. B1. Retrieved 2008-07-19.
- "Incumbents Roll in Two Supervisors' Races: Grantland Johnson gets 61.5% of Vote Over Two Contenders" (FEE REQUIRED). Sacramento Bee (The McClatchy Company). June 6, 1990. p. B3. Retrieved 2008-07-19.
- "Grantland Johnson Seeks U.S. Post: Supervisor Pursuing 2 Regional Director Offices on Clinton Team" (FEE REQUIRED). Sacramento Bee (The McClatchy Company). February 17, 1993. p. B3. Retrieved 2008-07-21.
- William J. Clinton: 1993 (PDF). Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States. Book II. Washington: United States Government Printing Office. 1994. p. 2215. Retrieved 2008-07-19.
- Johnson, Grantland (September–October 2000). "Memo, dated 2006" (PDF). Sierra Sacramento Valley Medicine (Sierra Sacramento Valley Medical Society) 51 (5). Retrieved 2008-07-21.
- "Grantland Johnson: Academy Induction Year: 2002". Academy of Distinction and Honor. California State University, Sacramento College of Social Sciences and Interdisciplinary Studies. Retrieved 2008-07-21.
- "Honorary Degrees - Grantland Johnson". Honorary Degrees Conferred by the California State University. The California State University. Retrieved 2014-08-19.
- "Member Search - Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc.". Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Incorporated. Retrieved 2014-08-19.
- "Community honors Grantland Johnson". Sacramento Press (The Sacramento Press, LLC). March 20, 2011. Retrieved 2014-08-19.
Sandra R. Smoley
|Secretary, California Health and Human Services Agency
1999 - 2003
S. Kimberly Belshè
|Director, U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, Region IX
1993 - 1999
|Supervisor, Sacramento County Board of Supervisors, District 1
1986 - 1993
|Councilmember, Sacramento City Council, District 2
1983 - 1986