Jay Johnson (politician)

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Jay Johnson
36th Director of the United States Mint
In office
May 2000 – August 2001
PresidentBill Clinton
George W. Bush
Preceded byPhilip N. Diehl
Succeeded byHenrietta H. Fore
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Wisconsin's 8th district
In office
January 3, 1997 – January 3, 1999
Preceded byToby Roth
Succeeded byMark Andrew Green
Personal details
Born(1943-09-30)September 30, 1943
Bessemer, Michigan, U.S.
DiedOctober 17, 2009(2009-10-17) (aged 66)
Bristow, Virginia, U.S.
Resting placeStonewall Memory Gardens
Manassas, Virginia
Political partyDemocratic
EducationGogebic Community College (AA)
Northern Michigan University (BA)
Michigan State University (MA)
Military service
Allegiance United States
Branch/service United States Army
Years of service1966–1968
UnitBrooke Army Medical Center

Jay Withington Johnson (September 30, 1943 – October 17, 2009) was an American politician and journalist who served as the 36th director of the United States Mint, and one-term member of the United States House of Representatives from Wisconsin. He was also a television news anchor in Green Bay, Wisconsin for WFRV-TV and WLUK-TV.[1]

Early life and education[edit]

Johnson was born in Bessemer, Michigan and graduated from Bessemer High School. He earned an associate degree in speech from Gogebic Community College in 1963 and a Bachelor of Arts degree in speech from Northern Michigan University in 1965. Johnson was an information specialist with the United States Army from 1966 until 1968. He was on the board of directors of the Wisconsin United Way. Johnson received a master's degree in radio and television arts from Michigan State University in 1970.[2]



Johnson was a broadcaster and journalist working in Michigan, Indiana, and Florida before settling Green Bay, Wisconsin, where he worked for 16 years at WFRV-TV and WLUK-TV.


In 1996, Johnson was elected to represent Wisconsin's 8th congressional district in the 105th United States Congress after 18-year incumbent Toby Roth chose not to run for a 10th term. He was the fourth Democrat to represent the district in the 20th century. He was defeated after one term by State Assemblyman Mark Green in 1998. In August 1999, Johnson was nominated by President Bill Clinton to become Director of the United States Mint. He was confirmed by the United States Senate in May 2000 and served until his successor was appointed by President George W. Bush in August 2001.[3] After leaving the U.S. Mint, he was self-employed, selling wholesale coins and was the chief numismatist for The Franklin Mint.[4]

On June 29, 2009, Goldline International, Inc., announced that Johnson had become a spokesperson for their company.[5]


On October 17, 2009, Johnson died at his home in Bristow, Virginia, of an apparent heart attack. He was survived by his wife, JoLee, and his two stepchildren.[6][7]

Electoral history[edit]

Wisconsin's 8th Congressional District Election, 1996[8]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Democratic Primary Election, September 10, 1996
Democratic Jay W. Johnson 18,293 59.06%
Democratic Stan Gruszynski 12,681 40.94%
Total votes 30,974 100.0%
General Election, November 5, 1996
Democratic Jay W. Johnson 129,551 52.04% +15.77%
Republican David Prosser, Jr. 119,398 47.96%
Plurality 10,153 4.08% -23.38%
Total votes 248,949 100.0% +38.78%
Democratic gain from Republican Swing 31.54%
Wisconsin's 8th Congressional District Election, 1998[9]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
General Election, November 3, 1998
Republican Mark Andrew Green 112,418 54.61%
Democratic Jay W. Johnson (incumbent) 93,441 45.39% -6.65%
Plurality 18,977 9.22% +5.14%
Total votes 205,859 100.0% -17.31%
Republican gain from Democratic Swing 13.30%


  1. ^ "Johnson, Jay W. 1943". Wisconsin Historical Society. 8 August 2017. Retrieved May 10, 2020.
  2. ^ The Distinguish Alumni Award of Northern Michigan University – Jay. W. Johnson
  3. ^ Ryman, Richard (October 18, 2009). "Jay Johnson dies at 66; was congressman, Green Bay TV anchor". The Post Crescent. Archived from the original on October 22, 2009. Retrieved May 20, 2009 – via Wayback Machine.
  4. ^ "The Franklin Mint". Archived from the original on 2008-07-23. Retrieved 2009-01-05 – via Wayback Machine.
  5. ^ "Former U.S. Mint Director Jay Johnson Becomes Spokesperson for Gold and Precious Metals Company Goldline International, Inc" (Press release). Los Angeles: Business Wire. June 29, 2009. Archived from the original on June 20, 2015. Retrieved May 10, 2020 – via Wayback Machine.
  6. ^ "Former Congressman Jay Johnson dies". WLUK-TV. October 18, 2009. Archived from the original on October 20, 2009. Retrieved May 10, 2020 – via Wayback Machine.
  7. ^ Ryman, Richard (October 19, 2009). "Former congressman, Green Bay TV news anchor dies". Green Bay Press-Gazette. p. A-3. Retrieved May 10, 2020 – via Newspapers.com.
  8. ^ Wisconsin Legislative Reference Bureau (1997). "Elections in Wisconsin". In Barish, Lawrence S. (ed.). State of Wisconsin 1997-1998 Blue Book (Report). Madison, Wisconsin: State of Wisconsin. pp. 880, 883.
  9. ^ Wisconsin Legislative Reference Bureau (1999). "Elections in Wisconsin". In Barish, Lawrence S.; Meloy, Patricia E. (eds.). State of Wisconsin 1999-2000 Blue Book (Report). Madison, Wisconsin: State of Wisconsin. p. 864.

External links[edit]

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Wisconsin's 8th congressional district

1997 – 1999
Succeeded by
Government offices
Preceded by Director of the United States Mint
2000 – 2001
Succeeded by