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State Rep. JJ Johnson joins list of retiring lawmakers

Delaware Public Media

State Rep. James “JJ” Johnson (D-New Castle) is the latest lawmaker to call it quits.

Johnson says he will leave the General Assembly, retiring at the end of this session.

The New Castle Democrat was first elected in 2004.

“You know, through the years I’ve tried not to take myself too seriously with the title of state representative or the honorable," said Johnson. "However, I did take my job seriously and I took this institution seriously and I felt a responsibility to take it seriously.”

Johnson made changing the First State’s criminal justice system a priority during his time in office. He sponsored “ban the box” legislation in 2013 banning employers from asking about a job applicant's criminal history early in the hiring process. He also sponsored a measure to revamp the state’s cash bail system.

Johnson joins fellow State Reps. Harvey Kenton (R-Milford) and Melanie George Smith (D-Bear) and Bryon Short (D- Highland Woods) in retiring this year. Senate Majority Leader Margaret Rose Henry (D-Wilmington), Senate Minority Leader Gary Simpson (R-Milford) and State Senator Brian Bushweller (D-Dover) have also announced they won’t seek re-election.