Linda Johnson, top NC House budget writer, dies from cancer

State Representative Linda Johnson
Photo courtesy of NC House Republican Caucus

RALEIGH — State Rep. Linda Johnson (R-Cabarrus), a senior House Appropriations Committee chair, died Tuesday from brain tumors and related strokes, according to multiple sources.

Johnson, 74, was a Cabarrus County native and served 10 terms in the North Carolina General Assembly. She was known as a tough negotiator.

“Linda Johnson had a beloved and infectious spirit that resonated throughout the North Carolina General Assembly every day, and the tragic news of her passing is a terrible loss for our legislative community, her family, and the people she served in Cabarrus County,” House Speaker Tim Moore (R-Kings Mountain) said in a statement Tuesday.

In addition to her work writing the budget with the Appropriations Committee, Johnson was also very involved in House education policy, and Moore noted her passion for students in the state.

“I know I speak for all my colleagues that she represented the very best of North Carolina and will always be remembered for her kind nature and powerful voice for public schools.”

Statements of respect and condolences were also released by Senate leaders, who worked closely with Johnson over the last two decades on a host of issues.

Senate Leader Phil Berger (R-Eden) released a statement saying, “Rep. Johnson’s spirit and enthusiasm will be missed in the General Assembly. She was a fierce advocate for education and never lost her focus amid even the most stressful budget negotiations.”

A fellow senior budget writer, but from the Senate side, Sen. Harry Brown (R-Onslow), called her “a relentless fighter and supporter of youth programs and education,” specifically crediting her for the initiative in getting funding for the David H. Murdock Research Institute in Kannapolis.

The other senior budget chairs from the Senate, Sens. Brent Jackson (R-Sampson) and Kathy Harrington (R-Gaston), also released statements on Johnson’s passing.

Jackson said, “Rep. Johnson was a very special lady and a dear friend. She fought tooth and nail for everything she could get for education. She was a tough negotiator, but she always had fun doing it.”

And Harrington added, “Rep. Johnson was as hardworking and passionate as they came. She was gracious and encouraging but knew when to stand her ground, especially on education issues. Her quick wit and intelligence will be missed.”