UNITED STATES SENATE
COMMITTEE ON ENVRONMENT & PUBLIC WORKS
PATRICK HAYES (PETE) JOHNSON
September 21, 2001
MR. CHAIRMAN and MEMBERS OF THE COMMITTEE thank you for the opportunity to appear before you this morning as you consider President George W. Bush’s nomination of me as Federal Co-chairman of the newly created Delta Regional Authority. I am especially appreciative and humbled by my long time friends Senator Thad Cochran and Senator Trent Lott being here today in support of my nomination. In fact it is they who recommended me to the President and should this Committee choose to recommend me to the full Senate I will work diligently to live up to their expectations and those of the President as well as those of this Committee and the entire Congress.
As a point of personal privilege I would like to take this opportunity to introduce to the Committee my family who is here with me today. My wife Margaret of 31 years, our daughter Mary Margaret Johnson who currently lives and works in Atlanta and Anne Clark Downing and her husband of three weeks Steve Downing. They too live and work in Atlanta. The weekend Anne Clark and Steve were married Mary Margaret became engaged and we are excited about having another son-in-law.
When I was first approached about this position I said I was not interested but after prayerful consideration and talking with those whose opinions I value it became apparent that I could not pass up the opportunity to make a positive impact on the lives of the people throughout our region for generations to come. When I was a young trust officer of our hometown bank I was charged with settling the estate of one of our prominent local elected officials. When I sat at the desk he toiled over for his entire life I noticed a small piece of paper under the glass on top of his desk and on it he had typed “What you do for yourself dies with you and what you do for others lives on.” Indeed, as I come before you today hoping you will find favor in my nomination I come with a desire to be part of building an economy in our region that will change the lives of our citizens for generations to come.
Public service in my family is not a casual undertaking. In fact I am the third generation in our family to be involved in public service. My grandfather was a Member of Congress serving the 6th District of Mississippi in 1918 thru 1922. He returned home to serve our state as a Judge and later Governor. My uncle served our state as Lt. Governor and Governor and I have served our state as State Auditor and our nation as State Director of USDA’s Farmers Home Administration.
I spent the early years of my life on a small farm in south Mississippi. My family was unable to put me through college however I graduated from the University of Mississippi in 1971 after working my way through waiting tables and a variety of other jobs. Law school was no easier. I complete night law school while holding down a full time job with the First National Bank of Jackson, Mississippi. At age 26 I was named to head one of the state’s largest trust departments with the Bank of Clarksdale in Clarksdale, Mississippi.
For almost three decades I have been active in trying to make our community, state and region a better place to live. The Delta Regional Authority holds great promise for our region and I believe that with your help we can change the lives of millions of Americans for generations to come.
Again, thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today. I’ll be glad to try and answer any questions you may have.