School board member Karen Johnson has officially confirmed that she plans to run for Davidson County Juvenile Court Clerk, a position currently held by Vic Lineweaver.
In a Monday statement to The City Paper, Johnson said her business management background and work with children qualify her for the job.
“Several people throughout the city have asked me to consider running for this office, and I have decided to run for the juvenile court clerk’s seat because I feel like the children and the families of this city have been underserved for many years. It’s time to make a change in leadership,” Johnson said in her statement.
“I have a strong business and human resources management background and experience working with children. I want to emphasize that we are in the early stages of my campaign and I’m currently building my base to run a strong campaign.”
As was first reported by The City Paper, Johnson has discussed her interest in the position with community members for the past few months, including at events over the weekend. Johnson has the start of a campaign Web site established. An official kickoff for her campaign is still being planned, Johnson said.
Johnson said her school board term expires at the time of the juvenile court clerk election. In the mean time, she said her campaign work would not interfere with her work representing the Antioch area on the Board of Education.
“I’m going to continue being a strong, effective leader for the people who elected me to represent that,” she said.
School board Chair David Fox said Johnson’s run for juvenile court clerk should not conflict with her current role on the school board.
“It doesn’t present any problems for the board,” Fox said. “As a board member, I don’t think I ought to be endorsing anybody, but I’m sure that Karen would do a very good job. …Karen’s in it for the kids and I have enjoyed working with her on the school board.”
The field of likely opponents for Lineweaver is growing crowded. Court officer David Smith has already announced he’s running; Lineweaver has confirmed that he is seeking re-election; and District 29 Metro Council member Vivian Wilhoite has been rumored to have interest in the job.
Lineweaver would not comment on Johnson entering the race, beyond reiterating he plans to seek re-election. Lineweaver will be seeking his third term, but it’s his first run since the WSMV Ch. 4 expose showed him in front of his home in a bathrobe during normal work hours.
The former Metro councilman was also found in contempt of court in 2007 for failing to provide court records to a Juvenile Court referee, which is the central task of his job. After his appeal of the contempt of court charge was rejected in Rutherford County, Lineweaver has taken the matter to the Tennessee Court of Appeals.
“I am running for juvenile court clerk,” Lineweaver said. “It’s [Johnson’s] right to run; it’s an elected position.”
Court officer Smith has already begun aggressively running for the office and will officially launch his campaign on May 7, according to his Web site.
“All I can say is what’s been said in the past — the more people that get in, it’s going to be more favorable to the incumbent getting re-elected,” Smith said. “That’s what’s been predicted.
“I’ve been in this thing since February of 2008. I’m in it to stay and I don’t have anything to say besides that.”