DeKalb County CEO-elect: 'I look forward to doing the job'

Former DeKalb County District 7 Commissioner Lorraine Cochran-Johnson is set to become the second female DeKalb County CEO, and the county's first Black female CEO. 

"I am happy to join several extremely competent African American females," Cochran-Johnson said. "We continue to shatter glass ceilings that may have existed." 

Cochran-Johnson addressed reporters Wednesday afternoon after handily winning her runoff election on Tuesday. 

"It feels good to have the win," Cochran-Johnson said, "because that’s what I do best: work." 

The CEO-elect revealed that she received several congratulatory calls, including one from the owner of South DeKalb Mall, indicating a readiness to revitalize the mall. 

She believes DeKalb County is at a crossroad and must address several key issues, ranging from economic development in South DeKalb County to crime. 

"We have businesses that cannot receive personal liability insurance. These are areas where I'm trying to grow business," Cochran-Johnson stated. "That has a detrimental effect." 

Lorraine Cochran-Johnson Wins Decisive Victory 

It was around 10 p.m. on Tuesday when the final runoff election results trickled into the FOX 5 newsroom, showing Cochran-Johnson claiming a 20-point lead over challenger and former DeKalb County Commissioner Larry Johnson. 

Cochran-Johnson took 60% of the vote, garnering more than 25,000 votes. 

Lorraine Cochran-Johnson's Journey to CEO 

Lorraine Cochran-Johnson shared the spotlight with her daughter and husband as she declared an early victory in the DeKalb County CEO runoff race.

Originally from Greenville, Alabama, Lorraine Cochran-Johnson was elected to the DeKalb County Board of Commissioners in 2018, representing Super District 7 until she decided to run for the CEO position. 

Cochran-Johnson has a background in political science and criminal justice, economic development, entrepreneurship, and visual media. Her platform focuses on addressing the housing crisis, gun violence, youth empowerment, and support for small businesses. 

Big Shoes to Fill as DeKalb County CEO 

The responsibilities of the DeKalb County CEO, according to outgoing CEO Michael Thurmond, include adopting a balanced budget, ensuring accurate water bills, removing blight, providing summer youth employment, improving employee compensation, and fulfilling the federal and state sewer consent agreement. 

Michael Thurmond is retiring after eight years as CEO. Before this role, he made history as the first African American elected to the Georgia General Assembly from Clarke County since the Reconstruction era. Thurmond has also served as superintendent of DeKalb schools, labor commissioner, and author.