Jo Ellen Johnson ‘87 is currently the legal counsel to the chief of staff/ethics officer/assistant Freedom of Information officer/judiciary committee staff of the Illinois Senate Republican Staff. In this position Jo is in the middle of policy making. She was involved in negotiations on electric deregulation in the late 1990s, in the initial passage of the Save Abandoned Babies Legislation, in the development of legislation regarding adoption issues, in negotiations for medical malpractice reform in 2004/2005, in the impeachment trial of former Governor Rod Blagojevich in 2009 and in negotiations on campaign finance reform and other ethics reforms in 2009. Jo states, “I’m able to have input into a wide range of decisions. I'm in the heart of Illinois politics. It's exciting, and I am contributing to the policy of our state that affects so many people.”
While attending Culver-Stockton, Jo was Student Government Secretary 1986-87, ATO Little Sister, Sigma Kappa, C-S Fellows, she published poems in campus literary magazine and was on the President's/Dean's List among other accomplishments. After graduating from C-SC, Jo went on to complete a legislative staff internship through Sangamon State University 1987 - 1988, now called the University of Illinois at Springfield and obtained her Juris Doctorate from the University of Illinois School of Law in 1992. She is licensed to practice law in Illinois and North Carolina.
When asked how Culver-Stockton shaped her life Jo says, “C-SC provided me with an excellent education and a foundation of friends and professors who have been my support network throughout life. It’s provided an extended "family" and a place where to this day, I feel at home.” She continues, “It was a great experience for me. It’s the place where I found many friends, a great education and myself. C-SC is definitely a college that parents should encourage their high school aged children to consider. At homecoming, I really noticed how great the Culver-Stockton bond is and how it doesn't really matter what your current situation or what your Greek affiliation was back then, we are all C-SC graduates and share this special bond.”
When reflecting on some of her fondest memories Jo recalls, “There were so many fun times and great learning experiences,” continuing, “I cannot forget to mention those wonderful Dr. Frank Edgar history lectures. He brought history to life with his lectures. And Professor Lee was a wonderful advisor to me throughout the years.”
o currently resides in Springfield, Ill., with her three cats, Shadow, Moonlight and Eddie as well as her dog, Amber.
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