Mark Johnson Announces Candidacy For Mayor

Covington, LA –  Longtime Covington resident and community advocate Mark Johnson officially announced his candidacy for mayor of Covington at a campaign kickoff event June 3, 2018 at the Covington Trailhead. Johnson, who is seeking his first-ever elected position, plans to balance preservation and improvement as Covington’s next mayor.
“I love my hometown. I love the quiet side streets, the tree canopy, the live oaks, the old homes and the family histories,” Johnson said. “We need to work together to protect our wonderful heritage. However, we also need to more aggressively address drainage upriver, certain street conditions and the historic West 30s.”
Johnson has an unparalleled and lengthy record as a leader in the nonprofit service and private sectors, and has been recognized with numerous awards through the years acknowledging this effort. This dedication to service has given him a firm and broad knowledge of the strengths, weaknesses and most pressing needs of his community.
Of particular note is his involvement with Leadership St. Tammany, which he helped create in 1993. Johnson continues to this day as its program director and guides more than 30 current and emerging community leaders annually through an interactive curriculum that broadens their understanding of the various government, business, civic and cultural organizations that impact St. Tammany Parish and its municipalities and equips them to better participate in community advancement. Through the program, Johnson has helped infuse the community with more than 600 multi-generational leaders who represent a wide variety of backgrounds.
Johnson also currently serves as the president of the Covington Heritage Foundation. As the “unofficial storyteller of Covington,” his presentations on area family histories and tours of Covington help protect and preserve what is important to his neighbors. He is also currently active with the Covington Rotary Club, the Covington Business Association, and Keep Covington Beautiful, and is the director of the annual Veterans Appreciation Reception on Memorial Day. He participates in the Covington Police Department’s
children’s summer camp, Carnival in Covington and the Children’s Advocacy Center/Hope House Men Who Cook annual fundraiser, among other community events.
Over the years, Johnson has also served the area through a variety of other organizations, including Northlake Mandeville Rotary Club, St. Tammany Parish Drainage District #3, Tammany Tigers, and the St. Tammany Parish Library Board of Control. He also coached Little League baseball for 20 years. For his service to community, Johnson received the St. Tammany Chamber West Community Leadership Award in 1994.

Johnson also has the professional background necessary to take over the city’s top administrative post, having proven himself as an astute businessman with particular strengths including growth, customer service, negotiations and coalition building.
Johnson did his pre-pharmacy studies at LSU, then graduated from Xavier University of New Orleans in 1982 with an Honors Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy. He passed the Louisiana Board of Pharmacy Examination in 1982 to become a registered pharmacist.
At that point, however, he went directly into residential construction and development and, with his brother-in-law, Kevin Kramer, grew their company, Four Star Homes, into one of the 400 largest residential builders in the United States. They won several national accolades, including the prestigious Homebuyer’s Warranty Diamond Builder Award for customer service, and Johnson was named the St. Tammany Parish West Chamber Business Person of the Year in 1992.
Johnson and Kramer retired from the building industry in 2000. Johnson then practiced pharmacy in Louisiana and in Alabama, and was recognized as a Rite-Aid Pharmacist of the Year three times.
Subsequently, Johnson co-founded a second company with Kramer, Excel Home Health. They grew the home health services business throughout the Florida Parishes and New Orleans, and sold the business in 2012. While operating Excel, Mark re-zoned 77 acres at I-12 and Hwy. 190 that he co-owned from Suburban Agriculture to a Planned Unit Development and acquired a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers 404 Wetlands Permit, laying the groundwork for what is today Versailles Business Park.
Johnson, who attended Covington Elementary and River Forest Academy and is a graduate of St. Paul’s School, looks forward to serving the community that he and his wife, Karen, have called home most of their lives. The Johnsons will celebrate their 40th wedding anniversary next year, and are the proud parents of four sons and proud grandparents of three granddaughters.
“Covington is not simply a place. Living in Covington is a privilege and a special experience,” Johnson said. “Working together with the community, I pledge to keep it that way.”