Incoming DeKalb Commissioner Mereda Davis Johnson stands with her husband, U.S. Rep. Hank Johnson, as she is sworn in by DeKalb Superior Court Judge Gregory A. Adams on Monday. Her election brings the county commission to a full seven members for the first time in more than two years. KENT D. JOHNSON /KDJOHNSON@AJC.COM

DeKalb Commissioner Mereda Davis Johnson takes office

DeKalb County Commissioner Mereda Davis Johnson was sworn into office Monday, bringing local representation to the Lithonia and Stonecrest area for the first time in two years.

Johnson, an attorney, took her oath of office in court with her husband, U.S. Rep. Hank Johnson, D-Ga., by her side. Mereda Johnson won a runoff last week to fill the last year and a half of a four-year term representing 144,000 residents in southeast DeKalb District 5.

The area had lacked representation since July 2013, when Gov. Nathan Deal appointed Lee May to become the county’s interim CEO. May recently resigned his commission seat, clearing the way for a special election.

“The district has what it needs most, and that’s representation,” Johnson said after her swearing-in ceremony. “The 5th District is in my opinion the gold mine of DeKalb because it has the most undeveloped land in DeKalb County, so there’s just huge, great possibilities for economic development and for jobs.”

Her first votes will come quickly when she weighs in on DeKalb’s $1.33 billion mid-year budget Tuesday. May’s proposed budget calls for a modest tax rate decrease and start-up funding for police officer body cameras.

Hank Johnson said his wife will work with her fellow commissioners to help build consensus.

“She’s a great study. She watches what’s going on around her, she learns the lessons, and she also learns about substance and policy,” he said. “She’ll hit the ground running, she’s a good listener and she works well with others.”

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