Brenda Lopez Romero
State Representative, Georgia House District 99
Parade Year 2019
Attorney Brenda Lopez made history last fall when she became the first Hispanic woman elected to the Georgia General Assembly, representing House District 99 in Gwinnett County. She was sworn in January 2017 and is one of two Latino representatives in the General Assembly. She sits on the education, retirement and state planning & community affairs committees.Representative Lopez is a rising star in Georgia politics. As the principal attorney at The Lopez Firm, Representative Lopez handles removal and family-based immigration cases. Representative Lopez was born in Mexico and immigrated to the United States at age 5. She is a product of DeKalb County Schools and graduated from Cross Keys High School in Brookhaven. She received a bachelor’s degree in political science and sociology from Georgia State University and, after working as a paralegal and in advocacy for three years, she graduated law school from Syracuse University. She has focused on international law, national security, and comparative politics in her academic career.
While in law school, Representative Lopez worked as a clerk for the Georgia Legal Services Program, the American Civil Liberties Union, and interned for a trial judge in Morelos, Mexico, where she is from. After law school, she worked as a staff attorney with Catholic Charities before opening her solo practice. In early 2015, she decided to run for office.
Representative Lopez is involved in political, legal, and education advocacy and has volunteered with organizations such as GALEO (the Georgia Association of Latino Elected Officials) and Amnesty International. She is particularly passionate about education and access to education for Dreamers, immigrants who were brought to this country as children. She is most proud of her volunteer work as a GED instructor with the adult education program at the Marist School.
Representative Lopez serves as vice chair of the Democratic Party of Georgia’s Latino Caucus. She is member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, the Hispanic National Bar Association and Georgia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.
Mayor, City of Norcross, GA
Parade Year 2019
For over twenty years, Craig L. Newton has been a passionate public servant who has demonstrated solid leadership and unwavering support for the City of Norcross, Gwinnett County, and the metro Atlanta region. Craig comes from a long lineage of Gwinnett history. The Newton family has been a part of Gwinnett County since the early 1900’s and he has been a lifelong resident of Norcross. After serving nearly twenty-years on the Norcross City Council, he made history in November 2017 when he was elected as the first African American mayor of any city in Gwinnett County. Today, he continues his public servant journey as Mayor, where he is dedicated to guiding the City of Norcross to a new chapter of economic prosperity, growth, and improved quality of life for all residents. Mayor Newton brings decades of executive experience from both the private sector and public leadership roles to the City of Norcross that will serve the city well for years to come.
Mayor Newton recently retired from MICROMERITICS Incorporated, a high-tech analytical laboratory instrument manufacturer in Norcross. As a Certified Internal ISO 9001 Auditor, he was responsible for assessing process effectiveness through developing, implementing, monitoring and managing compliance with internal control requirements. His analytical and detail-oriented skills allowed him to serve in various executive and management positions including Manager of Manufacturing, Manager of Field and Factory Technical Support, and Senior Quality Auditor.
As a longtime public servant, Mayor Newton was first elected to the Norcross City Council in 1998—including 4 terms as Mayor Pro Tem—where he served until his historic mayoral election in 2017. During his tenure as a councilman, he was accountable for enacting sound policies, approving the city’s annual budget, setting the city’s tax rate, and focusing on major projects and complex issues such as land use planning, capital financing, and strategic planning. Mayor Newton has guided several multi-million-dollar redevelopment projects including the Historic Downtown redevelopment project that ultimately transformed the city’s economic standing and has won numerous awards.
Drawing from his talents and decades of experiences from the private sector and as a councilman, Mayor Newton is currently serving his first two-year term. Since taking office, he has taken on a performance-driven approach to the job, creating more responsive, streamlined and efficient delivery of city services. He has assisted in a comprehensive budget review to ensure that the city is in sound financial standing. He has also provided leadership on staff reorganization for more efficiency and effectiveness. His vision is for Norcross to be a place where all residents prosper. Some of his priorities include improving the quality of life for residents through initiatives such as the Purple Heart City designation and AARP Age-Friendly Livable Communities. Also, economic prosperity is a high priority for Mayor Newton. Utilizing his political-will and networks of business leaders and politicians, he consistently advocates for more economic opportunities in Norcross including creating more jobs, start-up and entrepreneur opportunities, business recruitment, and major redevelopment projects. Mayor Newton performs various civic duties throughout Gwinnett County and the metro Atlanta region. In 2018, he was named Chairman of the Gwinnett Transit Advisory Board, where he has served since its creation in 2000. In this capacity, he provides advisory leadership to assist in setting the direction of the County’s transit planning, funding and governance. Other key leadership roles he has held include Vice President of Gwinnett County Municipal Association, Gwinnett County Special Local Options Sales Tax Committee, and Board of Director of Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce, and Board Member for the Norcross and Stripling Elementary Committees for School Improvement. He has worked to create “Give Us Hope, Inc”, a nonprofit after school program for latchkey and at-risk children, as well as serving as a Gwinnett Neighborhood Leadership Instructor. Mayor Newton is a graduate of Central Georgia Technical Institute with a degree in metrology. He is the proud husband of his wife Lynn, whom he has been married to for 35 years and their four children.
Judy Jordan Johnson
Mayor, City of Lawrenceville, GA
Parade Year 2019
Judy Jordan Johnson is a lifelong resident of Lawrenceville. She was born and raised on Culver Street. Judy comes by her public service naturally. Her mother, Willela Allison Jordan, was a social worker and homemaker and her father, Hilliard Rhodes Jordan, was an attorney, served in the House of Representatives, and was Mayor of Lawrenceville for 16 years. She graduated from Central Gwinnett High School in 1970, obtained a Bachelors from LaGrange in 1974, a Master of Art in Teaching from the State University of New York at Binghamton in 1976 and a Doctorate in Curriculum and Instruction from Argosy University in 2003. Judy taught math at Central Gwinnett High School for thirty years, where she also coached basketball and softball. Judy was Teacher of the Year in 1990. She is married to Allan Johnson, a retired teacher, and has two step daughters. Melissa is married to Jeff Tresidder and lives in Minneapolis. Becky passed away in 2009.
She is active in the Lawrenceville community volunteering at Lawrenceville Elementary School, Lawrenceville Co-Op, and Gwinnett Medical Center. Previously she was a member of Alpha Delta Kappa Sorority and the Lawrenceville Business and Professional Women’s Club where she was named the Georgia Business and Professional Woman of the Year for 2006. Judy is a member and Deacon of First Baptist Church of Lawrenceville.
Judy served on the City Council from 2003 to 2008 and was elected Mayor in November 2010. Her first term as mayor began January 1, 2011.
She believes neighborhoods, schools, and businesses all have a vital role in the success of a community. Her role as public servant will be to bring a positive relationship to all aspects of Lawrenceville.
State Representative, Georgia House District 101
Parade Year 2019
Representative Sam Park is a native Georgian born and raised by a single mother who instilled in him the importance of faith, family, and hard work. Sam’s grandparents were refugees from the Korean War who moved to the United States in the early 1980’s in pursuit of the American Dream. Through their sacrifice, Sam had an opportunity to earn a BA in Political Science and BS in Economics from Georgia State University in 2009. He was then accepted to Georgia State University College of Law where he received his JD in 2013. After receiving a Fellowship in Civil Rights and Constitutional Law from American University Washington College of Law, Sam earned his Masters in Law in 2014 with a specialization in law, politics, and legislation.
In December 2014, Sam’s mother was diagnosed with terminal cancer. Through her fight against cancer, Sam learned firsthand the importance of having access to healthcare. On a platform of expanding Medicaid to ensure access to healthcare for all Georgians, Sam ran for office as a first-time candidate in 2016, and unseated a three-term Republican chairwoman with a grassroots campaign to become the first Asian American Democrat and first openly gay man elected to the Georgia State Legislature.
Sam’s commitment to serving others and passion for good public policy have been driving forces in his professional and political career. During law school, Sam spent two years with the Health Law Partnership, a medical-legal partnership that provides pro bono civil legal services to low-income families with children who are seen at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. Sam also worked as a bankruptcy litigator helping families in financial hardship fight foreclosure, repossession, and garnishment. During his first term as a legislator, Sam introduced comprehensive civil rights legislation, co-sponsored legislation to expand Medicaid in Georgia, and defeated discriminatory legislation targeted at minority communities. Sam currently serves as a Deputy Whip in the Georgia House Democratic Caucus, and as Vice-Chair for the Gwinnett State House Delegation.