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Former vice mayor announces run for mayor of Delray Beach

Shirley Johnson will be first Black woman to run for mayor in city's 96-year history
Shirley Johnson announces she is running for mayor of Delray Beach.
Posted at 5:52 PM, Jun 07, 2023

DELRAY BEACH, Fla. — Delray Beach resident Shirley Johnson has put her name in the running for mayor of the city.

"I look forward to working hard every day to make Delray Beach the best that it can be," Johnson said.

She said her main concerns are rising tides, crumbling roads and infrastructure and building a new City Hall.

Johnson, the city's former vice mayor, said she will strive for diversity, equity and inclusion.

"I'd like to see more cohesion and unity within the communities," Johnson said. "We tend to separate unfortunately. We have a center that we'd like to have everyone feel that they belong and that hasn't been accomplished yet. We need to work harder at it."

She will be the first Black woman to run for mayor in Delray Beach's 96-year history.

"It's awe-inspiring. You look around and say, 'Wait a minute, I can't be the first.' Ninety-six years is a long time," Johnson said. "I hope it happens before the city celebrates its 100th anniversary."

Johnson, a daughter of Black sharecroppers, has lived in Palm Beach County for about 76 years.

Her family moved to Delray Beach when she was 6 years old and was schooled in a segregated system.

"My father told me I could do anything," Johnson said. "I lost my mother when I was 13, so I was in the head of the household, as far as the domestic part of keeping house, and taking care of my two sisters, but I just never felt that there wasn't anything I couldn't do, and there's nothing I won't tackle."

Johnson was first elected in 2017 and then was reelected in 2020 where she served as vice mayor. She also chaired the board of the Delray Beach Community Redevelopment Agency.