Friday, August 7, 2009

The Door Closed at the Mayor’s Office Only to Open at the Senator’s Office

Joyce Johnson at Senator Warner's office.

Joyce Johnson at Senator Warner's office.

A familiar face greets constituents as they enter U.S. Senator Mark Warner’s office on Salem Avenue in Roanoke. Joyce Johnson whose position was eliminated as Secretary to the Mayor in the wake of budget cuts and to the chagrin of the Mayor sits at the front desk.

Mayor David Bowers when reached by phone said that, “the City’s loss is Mark Warner’s gain … no wonder he’s a U.S. Senator and now he’ll be a great one having Joyce Johnson as a staff assistant.”

Johnson said she had met some of Warner’s staff when she wrote a letter from the Mayor encouraging Warner to open an office in Roanoke. Economic Development found Warner the space at 129B Salem Avenue adjacent to Warehouse Row.

Warner’s office manager, Louise “Lou” Kadiri met Mayor Bowers at a function and through casual conversation the connection was made. Johnson received a call directly from Kadiri and she kept it from Bowers until she had gone through two interviews. “The timing was perfect,” said Johnson.

Kadiri, Constituent Services Director has been at the Salem office since April. Johnson makes the third staff member along with Drew Densmore, Outreach Director.

Joyce Johnson takes a call from a constituent.

Joyce Johnson takes a call from a constituent.

At Johnson’s second interview with the State Director of Constituent Services she was told that Senator Warner insists on meeting every staff person. Johnson met Warner when he was in Roanoke. They talked for a few minutes and he gave her “the green light” said Johnson. Her first day was July 27 and she feels right at home talking to constituents and fielding phone calls.

Senator Warner has offices in Abington, Richmond (Midlothian area), Norfolk and now Roanoke. “Its fast-paced and a lot to keep up with,” said Johnson. Through the Senates website the staff keeps up with what bills are being introduced and voted on she explained.

While I was at the office the phone was ringing non-stop with caller concerns about health care, cap and trade, and “cash for clunkers.” Johnson said she takes at least 35 calls a day. She patiently takes time with each call and carefully notes their concerns to be compiled for Senator Warner’s review.

Reflecting on her bumpy road over the past few months Johnson said, “sometimes you don’t understand when things happen to you … what doors will open.” She has let go of the past and is thrilled with her new exciting staff position.

Posted By Valerie Garner

Categories: Politics, Roanoke City Politics, State Politics

Tags: ,

Comments (2)

Sandi Saunders

August 7th, 2009 at 8:21 AM    

What great news, Thanks for the story, You go Miss Joyce!


August 7th, 2009 at 8:47 AM    

I am so happy for her also.

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