Johnny Ford

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For other people named Johnny Ford, see John Ford (disambiguation).
Johnny Ford
Mayor of Tuskegee
In office
1972–1996
Preceded by unknown
Succeeded by Ronald D. Williams
In office
2004–2008
Preceded by Lucenia Williams Dunn
Succeeded by Omar Neal
In office
2012 – Current
Preceded by Omar Neal
Personal details
Born (1942-08-23) August 23, 1942 (age 72)
Midway, Alabama
Political party Democratic

Johnny L. Ford (born August 23, 1942, in Midway, Alabama) is an American politician and mayor of Tuskegee, Alabama, and a former Alabama State Representative. He was raised as a child and attended elementary school in Tuskegee. He is a graduate of Tuskegee Institute High School. Ford received his B.A. in History and Sociology from Knoxville College, his Master's of Public Administration from Auburn University Montgomery, and has received four Honorary Doctorate Degrees. He has three children: John, Christopher, and Tiffany.

Political career[edit]

Ford was first elected mayor of Tuskegee in 1972. He was, along with A.J. Cooper of Prichard, elected the first black mayors of cities of more than 10,000 people in the modern era in Alabama in 1972 (although Hobson City had been black-run since its incorporation in 1899, but it was a smaller community).[citation needed] After serving six terms as mayor, Ford was defeated in 1996 by Ronald D. Williams, a former political aide.[1] Two years later in 1998, Ford ran for and won State Representative of the 82nd District from Macon County. He served from 1999 until 2004. In February 2003, he switched to the Republican Party, becoming Alabama's first black Republican in the state legislature in more than 100 years.[2]

Preferring to serve in his old office as mayor, he resigned from the legislature and was elected mayor in 2004, defeating the first black woman mayor of Tuskegee, Lucenia Williams Dunn by a 54-46% margin. Facing a tough reelection to an 8th non-consecutive term in 2008, which featured 5 candidates, challenger Omar Neal led in the August municipal election by just 12 votes (927 to 915) over Ford. Credited with turning out the "youth vote" from Tuskegee University, Neal defeated Ford by a 54-46% margin (1,463 to 1,270), in a higher turnout October runoff.[1] As of 2013, Tuskegee has not reelected a mayor to a consecutive term since Ford won his sixth term in 1992.

Ford is the founder and Director General of the World Conference of Mayors[1] and also serves as President of Johnny Ford and Associates, Inc. Ford is the President-emeritus and Founder of the National Conference of Black Mayors. He was an appointed to the Presidential Advisory Committee on Federalism and the U.S. Intergovernmental Policy Advisory Committee on Trade. Ford is also a past President of the Alabama League of Municipalities, is a member of Kappa Alpha Psi, and the founding President of the Tuskegee Optimist Club.[citation needed]

Ford rejoined the Democratic party and ran for the state Senate district 28 in 2010, succeeding Myron Penn.[3] Though it is a majority-minority seat, he lost the run-off election to Billy Beasley, who is white.[4]

In 2012, Ford ran again for his old job as Tuskegee mayor and in the August primary, he defeated 1st term Mayor Neal by a margin of 57-38% (with 3rd candidate Lula Pearl-Franklin pulling the remaining 5%) and as a result, did not require a run-off. He was then sworn into an unprecedented 8th non-consecutive term as mayor.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Rhodes, Guy (October 9, 2008), "Omar Neal wins Runoff", The Tuskegee News, retrieved 2009-06-13 
  2. ^ "Tuskegee's Johnny Ford switches to Republican Party", Jet, Feb 3, 2003, retrieved 2009-06-13 
  3. ^ Tuskegee's Ford to Run for Senate, June 29, 2009, retrieved 2009-06-29 
  4. ^ Sarah Smith (November 4, 2010). "Beasley moves up to Senate; other vote totals for Macon County". The Tuskegee News. Retrieved October 28, 2013. 
Preceded by
Unknown
Mayor of Tuskegee, Alabama
1972 — 1996
Succeeded by
Ronald D. Williams
Preceded by
Lucenia Williams Dunn
Mayor of Tuskegee, Alabama
2004 — 2008
Succeeded by
Omar Neal
Preceded by
Omar Neal
Mayor of Tuskegee, Alabama
2012 —
Succeeded by
Incumbent