Our Islands, Our Future

Jo Anne JohnsonContinuing our series on newly appointed County Department Directors, reflecting the role of government in responding to community values and needs.

Former County Council Member Jo Anne Johnson says she uses her knowledge of the governmental budgetary process and desire to lead by example to advance the mission of the County of Maui Department of Transportation. Johnson’s department manages one of the fastest growing transit systems in the United States — more than 2.5 million passengers use the public transit system each year, according to Johnson. “Transportation impacts the lives of everyone here in Maui County and especially those who are mobility challenged, so what our department does impacts the overall quality of life for all. We will always try to improve on that quality of life to the best of our ability and within our financial means.”

Johnson says one of the biggest challenges her department faces is the government’s dwindling financial resources. “We have to work more creatively in the area of finance to meet the growing needs of the people in the area of transportation. The old adage of ‘doing more with less’ has never been more relevant in carrying out the goals of the department.” Johnson says she takes a team approach to her job, seeking input from the people closest to the issue. “My basic philosophy is one of leading by example…My personal values are governed by my sincere desire to treat people honestly and respectfully and to do the best job I possibly can for the people of Maui,” Johnson says.

Johnson was married for more than 30 years to the late Jim Johnson who died of complications due to Parkinson‟s disease. She recently married Rabbi Larry Winer, whom she dated more than 35 years ago and reconnected with after Jim Johnson’s death. In her spare time, Johnson enjoys going to the movies and listening to music while she’s on the treadmill. She and her new husband also like to travel around the island and take in Maui’s sights and events. “I love my job and it is simply a continuation of my role as a public servant for the people.”