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Candidate profile: Andrew Johnson, solicitor general
Andrew Johnson
Andrew Johnson

In his 10 years as an attorney, Andrew Johnson has been a public defender, city attorney and city court judge, all of which he says has prepared him to be the next Bryan County solicitor general.

Johnson is facing Chet Gregg and Don Montgomery in the Republican primary for the position May 24. If no candidate receives 50 percent plus one vote, the top two will advance to a run-off election July 26. No Democratic candidates filed to run. Incumbent Ray Smith is not seeking re-election and instead is running unopposed for Bryan County State Court judge.

“I believe I have the skills, training and education to do the job,” Johnson said.

Solicitors general in Georgia prosecute criminal misdemeanor, traffic and ordinance violations in state and magistrate courts.

“My philosophy is that I treat people the way they want to be treated,” Johnson said. “A lot of people who get traffic tickets work 40 hours or more a week, they have kids. They aren’t criminals and don’t need to be treated like one.”

Johnson said a lot of teenagers and young adults who receive misdemeanor citations are experiencing their first blush with the law.

“It requires some creative solutions so their record doesn’t follow them for the rest of their life,” he said. “Even a speeding ticket for a kid who wants to join the military is a big deal.”

Johnson said if elected he would like to pursue the type of pre-trial diversion program for young offenders that Chatham County has.

“If it’s not a serious offense, you don’t want it to ruin their life,” he said.

Johnson received his undergraduate degree from Clemson and his law degree from the University of Georgia. He has practiced in Bryan County for 10 years.

“My dad was a police officer in Massachusetts when I was growing up and I’d go to court with him sometimes,” Johnson said. “I found it interesting and knew this was something I wanted to do.”

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