Johnson selected as one of nation’s outstanding rising leaders
Washington, D.C. - Today, State Representative Blake Johnson (D-Indianapolis) was selected
as one of 16 leaders from across the country to join the NewDEAL (Developing Exceptional
American Leaders), a selective national network of state and local elected officials with
Honorary Co-Chairs U.S. Senator Chris Coons, Congresswoman Marilyn Strickland, and
Columbia, SC Mayor Steve Benjamin.
Members of the network have been chosen from more than 1800 nominations over NewDEAL’s
12 years, and are united by their work to enact pro-growth progressive solutions across their
diverse array of communities.
Johnson joins the group at a time when state and local leaders are on the frontlines of
responding to simultaneous crises caused by COVID-19, climate change, racial inequities, and
threats to our democracy. At a moment when unprecedented federal resources are flowing to
states, counties, and cities from the American Rescue Plan, bipartisan infrastructure law, and
Inflation Reduction Act, NewDEALers are supporting each other in thinking big and sharing
model policies and programs, including through in-person and virtual convenings. In one effort,
NewDEAL has released two reports this year featuring case studies on how to use ARP funding
to solve inequitable access to housing, child care, broadband, small business capital, and
workforce training. NewDEAL Leaders’ work also has contributed to reports of policy
recommendations on education, climate change, broadband, and the future of work.
NewDEALers’ next major convening will take place at the 12th annual Leaders Conference,
November 30-December 2 in Washington, DC, where about 80 members will join other
innovators from the public and private sectors to discuss a forward-looking agenda for state and
local Democrats in the wake of the midterms to address the biggest challenges facing our
country, including the future of work and education, climate change, and threats to our
Johnson was selected to join NewDEAL because of his dedication to supporting Indiana
businesses and investing in his state’s infrastructure. As a member of the Roads and
Transportation Committee, Johnson is focused on modernizing his state’s transit systems. In his
previous role as an Indianapolis City-County Councillor, Johnson also led an educational task
force that resulted in Indianapolis’ Indy Achieves Scholarship Program.
NewDEAL Leaders have found broad support for their work across red, blue, and purple states
and cities, with more than 20 rising to higher office in the past few years. These leaders include
members of Congress, such as Marilyn Strickland in Washington, Greg Stanton in Arizona, and
Jennifer Wexton in Virginia, as well as new Mayors in cities from Dallas and Phoenix to Boise,
Kansas City and Montgomery, AL. More than 25 leaders are on the ballot for Congress,
Governor, and other higher offices in 2022.
“We are in a vitally important moment for state and local leaders as we work to channel
transformational levels of federal aid while grappling with the challenges that will continue to
affect the economic security of Indiana for decades to come,” said Johnson. “I look forward to
sharing lessons with and learning from other leaders who are setting the standard for effective
governance, and I am excited to be part of NewDEAL’s efforts to expand opportunities for
Americans in communities nationwide.”
The NewDEAL brings together leaders focused on expanding opportunity, helping them develop
and spread innovative ideas to spur economic growth that is broadly-earned and sustainable.
Most importantly, the organization facilitates the exchange of ideas among its members and
connects them with other pro-growth progressive political, policy, and private sector leaders.
NewDEAL alumni have included Pete Buttigieg, Stacey Abrams, Jason Kander, Alex Padilla, Ben
McAdams, and more.
Today’s announcement brings the total number of NewDEAL members – statewide officials,
legislators, mayors, councilmembers, and other local leaders – to 209 leaders from 49 states.
Learn more about Johnson and the NewDEAL at http://www.newdealleaders.org/leaders.